An estimated 2,000-3,000 Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year, and most of these cases can be linked to asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma is an aggressive, deadly cancer primarily caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos fibers can become lodged in your lungs and gastrointestinal tract, leading to mesothelioma in many different parts of the body.
Frustratingly, mesothelioma has a long latency period, meaning that you may not show symptoms of this cancer until 30-50 years after your initial exposure to asbestos. This can make it very difficult for doctors to diagnose your mesothelioma.
Detecting Malignant Mesothelioma
Unfortunately, most mesothelioma patients do not live even a full year after their diagnosis. It is important that doctors detect and identify this cancer as soon as possible so that you can have a better prognosis. Common symptoms of each type of mesothelioma include:
- Pleural mesothelioma – coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath
- Peritoneal mesothelioma – unintentional weight loss, nausea, abdominal pain
- Pericardial mesothelioma – abnormal heart beat, chest pain
- Testicular mesothelioma – lumps and swelling of the testes
Often, doctors will interview you for asbestos exposure if you are exhibiting the symptoms of mesothelioma. They can also check for fluid in the area of the pain, as fluid buildup is a common side effect of the cancer. After this, they may use diagnostic equipment such as x-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans to locate the tumors.
For More Information
For early cancer detection, it is important to let your doctor know if you have been exposed to asbestos in the past. For more information regarding asbestos exposure and related disease, the Mesothelioma Resource Center may be able to help. Please fill out the contact form located at the top of the page today.