Asbestos exposure is the most common cause of mesothelioma. In many cases, mesothelioma is discovered accidentally when patients report symptoms, leading to an accurate diagnosis. Mesothelioma symptoms are not always evident, especially early in the disease.
Mesothelioma has a long latency period, which means the symptoms can take years to manifest after asbestos exposure occurs. This makes diagnosis and effective treatment of mesothelioma very difficult. And when mesothelioma symptoms become evident, those symptoms are generalized and not easy to pin down as mesothelioma.
Pleural mesothelioma symptoms
Pleural mesothelioma, the most common form, involves shortness of breath and constant chest pains. These symptoms stem from the buildup of fluid between the lining of the lung and the chest cavity.
Pleural mesothelioma usually starts in the chest cavity and then spreads to other parts of the body. People suffering may have severe breathing problems, weight loss and fever, and sometimes trouble swallowing or swelling of the face and neck. Others who have pleural mesothelioma may not show any symptoms at all.
Here are the primary symptoms of pleural mesothelioma:
|• severe chest pain
• shortness of breath
• persistent cough
• lung infection
• difficulty swallowing
|• loss of weight
• swollen lymph nodes
Peritoneal mesothelioma symptoms
Peritoneal mesothelioma accounts for about 20% of patients who receive a mesothelioma diagnosis, and is just as dangerous and deadly as pleural mesothelioma. It affects the lining around the stomach and intestines and spreads.
People suffering from peritoneal mesothelioma may have abdominal pain and swelling, nausea, loss of appetite and vomiting. Patients may also suffer from breathing problems and chest pain. These symptoms result from tumors pressing against the abdominal wall. Bowel obstruction, anemia, fever and blood clotting also tend to affect peritoneal mesothelioma patients.
Here are the primary symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma:
|• rasping||• vomiting|
|• nausea||• swelling of feet|
|• weight loss||• fever|
Pericardial mesothelioma symptoms
Pericardial mesothelioma starts in the cavity surrounding the heart, as tumors grow and spread. Those suffering from pericardial mesothelioma may experience chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing and heart palpitations.
Remember that most people who have been exposed to asbestos do not begin to show mesothelioma symptoms until 30 or 40 years later. By then, the mesothelioma has spread, which means the mesothelioma treatment is much more difficult.
Prognosis for Patients Diagnosed with Mesothelioma
A patient’s mesothelioma prognosis often depends on the severity of the cancer and the stage at which it was discovered. Patients should speak with a medical professional to determine the best method for treating their specific type of mesothelioma.
Malignant mesothelioma is a particularly aggressive form of cancer. Because the disease and its symptoms can take decades to develop, it can be hard to properly identify and begin treatment in early stages.
Studies show that most patients who receive a stage 1 mesothelioma diagnosis live between 1 and 5 years, though full recovery is possible. If a patient does not begin treatment until later stages of cancer development, his or her life expectancy may shorten significantly.
A mesothelioma prognosis could be impacted by developments in new forms of cancer treatment. Though statistics show that 10% of mesothelioma patients survive at least 5 years after diagnosis, this percentage is twice as high as 10 years ago and much higher than 30 years ago.