Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that develops in the mesothelium tissue. This is a protective double layer membrane that covers most of the internal organs. In most cases, 3 out of every 4, cancer starts developing in the chest cavity. But, it can also occur around the heart and in the abdominal cavity alike. Unfortunately, malignant cells don’t at the mesothelium. They invade and expand on nearby tissues after a while. In the advanced stage, cancer cells metastasize and spread to the whole body.
Symptoms are very similar to symptoms typical for other diseases. So, it’s important to know and recognize the signs that may indicate to mesothelioma. This is especially important for those who have been exposed to asbestos.
So, what is mesothelioma symptoms? Well, the symptoms vary depending on the location of cancer. Here are 7 most common symptoms and signs of mesothelioma.
1. Excessive Sweating or Fever
A fever seems as with any passing condition at first. But, it’s worth questioning if it doesn’t go with other typical signs of a cold. Excessive sweating, especially night sweats, is another sign of mesothelioma. This symptom may occur in all forms of mesothelioma.
2. Pleural Effusion
Pleural effusion is one of the most common early signs of mesothelioma. It is found in about 90% of patients with pleural (lung) mesothelioma. This condition is characterized by creating excess fluids around the lungs. Pleural effusions may follow other diseases like embolism and heart failure. This can lead to confusion when diagnosing disease.
3. Unexplained Weight Loss
Even 30% of patients suffering from mesothelioma experience unexplained weight loss. Weight loss is a worrisome if there is no explicable reason for it. The problem is that weight loss accompanies various diseases. Consult your doctor and try to determine the real cause.
4. Dysphagia (Difficulty Swallowing)
Pain upon swallowing or difficulty swallowing could be a cause for concern. This symptom usually occurs in the early stage of the disease. It is often accompanied by reflux or hoarseness. Some patients feel like the food gets stuck in their throat while they eat. You shouldn’t ignore this symptom.
5. Chronic Cough
A chronic cough is something you should pay attention to. It could be a sign of mesothelioma if it’s accompanied by shortness of breath or pain in the lungs. About 36% of patients with mesothelioma experience a chronic cough. But the vast majority of them (even 79%) have a shortness of breath.
6. Swelling and Pain in the Chest or Abdomen
Pain under the ribcage in the chest area is another sign of lung mesothelioma. Besides the lungs, this illness can also develop in the abdominal tissues. This is the case in the peritoneal type of mesothelioma. The abdominal pain is quite often coupled with swelling. You need to seek medical attention if you’re experiencing abdominal or chest pain. That may tell you that something is wrong in your body.
Most people overlook or ignore certain signs of disease such as fatigue. This is especially true for those who are often tired or overworked. Yet, fatigue is sometimes associated with cancer.
Keep in mind that symptoms and signs of mesothelioma may appear even 50 years after exposure to asbestos. It’s important to know the early symptoms of this week illness. That increases the chance of getting an early and accurate diagnosis. Early diagnosis often means better life expectancy and better prognosis as well.
About the author: Brad Richardson