Mesothelioma or Asbestos Question?

Symptoms of Mesothelioma

Exposure to asbestos fibers can result in several different medical problems; one of the deadliest is the cancer mesothelioma. This aggressive illness attacks the mesothelium, a protective membrane of the heart, lungs, and abdominal cavity. As with all cancers, early diagnosis of mesothelioma is vital to successful treatment. Sadly, victims of this disease are rarely diagnosed in a timely manner, due to its non-specific symptoms and long developmental period.

If you or a loved one has ever worked with asbestos, it is very important to know the symptoms of mesothelioma and related conditions. If you have experienced any changes in your health recently, or have any questions about asbestos exposure, you need to speak with a medical professional at once. The symptoms of mesothelioma can vary depending on type, and may be confused with symptoms of much less dangerous illnesses.

Symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma

In about 60% of mesothelioma cases, the disease is located in the pleura, a membrane that envelops the lungs. The most common symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include:

  • Persistent chest pains
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing and/or wheezing
  • Coughing that produces bloody phlegm

As the disease progresses, symptoms may become more severe and include weight loss, blood clots, and internal bleeding.

Symptoms of Peritoneal Mesothelioma

In about 30% of patients, mesothelioma attacks the peritoneum, the lining of the abdominal cavity that holds the stomach, liver, intestines, and other organs. Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include:

  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Severe weight loss
  • Lasting fever
  • Anemia (a loss of red blood cells)
  • Digestive problems

Over time, additional complications may develop, including blood clots and bumps under the skin.

Symptoms of Pericardial Mesothelioma

Only about 5% of mesothelioma cases involve the pericardium, the part of the mesothelium that covers the heart. The warning signs of pericardial mesothelioma include:

  • Persistent chest pain
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disturbances

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to distinguish between pericardial mesothelioma and other heart conditions. Extensive testing is often needed, and patients may not know to request these procedures.

Ask your Doctor about Asbestos Exposure

Sadly, people with any kind of mesothelioma often dismiss the early warning signs as chest colds or other minor problems. Even doctors can miss this diagnosis, particularly if they are unaware of the patient’s history. If you have ever been exposed to asbestos, be sure to let your doctor know. It could be the key to uncovering the truth and getting you the help you need. It is important to use all mesothelioma resources you have available to you.

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