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Mesothelioma Symptoms

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Mesothelioma Symptoms

Mesothelioma is typically diagnosed at the later stages of the disease, as mesothelioma symptoms may not appear for decades after asbestos exposure. Unfortunately, many people with Mesothelioma may not be aware that they have this rare form of cancer. Early symptoms vary from patient to patient, but often appear similar to common, more minor illnesses.

Mesothelioma is often misdiagnosed as lung cancer or another disease affecting the pulmonary system because symptoms are similar to those experienced by patients with such illnesses. If you or a loved one have experienced symptoms of mesothelioma, it is important to also inform your doctor of your exposure to asbestos.

Early Mesothelioma Symptoms

It is very rare for symptoms to present at an early stage of the disease. Because of this and in light of the very serious nature of mesothelioma cancer, it is advisable for individuals who have been exposed to asbestos to take preventive measures by undergoing regular chest X-rays or lung function tests to detect mesothelioma as early as possible.

If you have a history of exposure to asbestos, it is best that you make this evident to your doctor so that he or she can be aware of the possibility of an asbestos-related disease such as asbestosis or mesothelioma cancer.

Pleural Mesothelioma Symptoms

Pleural mesothelioma, a type of cancer that develops in the lining around the lungs, is the most common form of this disease. If you have been exposed to asbestos, you should be aware of the following symptoms of pleural mesothelioma:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing up blood
  • Persistent, non-productive cough (a cough that is “dry” or “raspy”)
  • Night sweats
  • Fever
  • Unexplained significant weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Persistent chest pain or pain while breathing
  • Lumps under the skin on the chest

The cause of the symptoms in the lungs is the thickening of the pleural membrane which surrounds the lungs. This is the result of overproduction of cells, and it can lead to the buildup of excess fluid between the layers of the membrane. Decreased respiratory function and the symptoms above are a result of added pressure on the lungs caused by these excess cells.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Symptoms

Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the lining of the organs in the abdomen, and it accounts for roughly 20 to 30 percent of all mesothelioma cancer diagnoses. The following are known symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma:

  • Fatigue
  • Anemia
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Change in bowel habits/regularity
  • Abdominal pain or swelling
  • Night sweats
  • Fever
  • Unexplained significant weight loss
  • Lumps under the skin of the abdomen

Similar to the effect of pleural mesothelioma, the buildup of excess peritoneal cells causes fluid buildup between membrane layers, leading to pressure on the abdominal cavity and organs. It is this pressure that causes peritoneal symptoms.

Pericardial Mesothelioma Symptoms

Pericardial mesothelioma is rare, making up only roughly 5 percent of documented mesothelioma cancer cases. Because of the rare nature of this form of mesothelioma, fewer symptoms have been documented.

Known symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma include:

  • Chest pain
  • Heart palpitations
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Night sweats
  • Fever

Pericardial mesothelioma is the result of the thickening of the pericardial membrane (around the heart) and consequent fluid buildup.

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