Mesothelioma Symptoms

Mesothelioma can display a wide range of symptoms. Mesothelioma cancers share many of these symptoms with other diseases and conditions. Unfortunately, this similarity can make mesothelioma harder to detect. At the same time, certain symptoms can indicate mesothelioma cancers with a small degree of certainty.

When several symptoms present themselves to an individual and the disease is diagnosed at an early stage, the victim may have a higher chance of having mesothelioma.

Therefore, if you have been exposed to asbestos and suffer from any of the symptoms below, you should strongly consider seeking help from a medical professional.

Most Common Symptoms of Mesothelioma

  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest and/or abdomen
  • Dry cough
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Pleural Effusions
  • Anemia
  • Slow immune response

Symptoms of Advanced Mesothelioma

  • Severe chest pain or abdominal pain
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Hacking cough
  • Persistent respiratory problems

Pleural Mesothelioma Common Symptoms

  • Dry cough and wheezing
  • Chest pains
  • Pleural effusions
  • Reduced chest expansion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Blood in cough or sputum
  • Blood clotting

Pleural Mesothelioma Frequency of Symptoms

  • Chronic cough – 36%
  • Chest pain – 64%
  • Pleural Effusions – 90%
  • Shortness of breath – 79%
  • Weight loss – 30%

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Common Symptoms

  • Abdominal swelling or distension
  • Constipation/bowel obstruction
  • Diarrhea
  • Feeling of fullness
  • Sensitive or painful abdomen
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Frequency of Symptoms

  • Ascites (fluid in bowels) – 77%
  • Weight loss/decreased appetite – 69%
  • Mild seizures – 10%

Pericardial Mesothelioma Common Symptoms

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pains
  • Heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat

Testicular Mesothelioma Common Symptoms

Testicular mesothelioma cases are extremely rare, but some patients report fatigue and feeling masses or nodules in the testicles.

Symptoms Indicating the Spread of Cancer

Mesothelioma can in rare circumstances metastasize to other areas of the body. Localized symptoms where the disease develops can change to different effects throughout the body. These symptoms will often be felt differently according to where in the body the mesothelioma has spread.

Possible symptoms that mesothelioma has spread include:

  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Laryngeal nerve palsy, resulting in a hoarse throat
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Horner’s syndrome, resulting in damage to facial nerves
  • Abnormal nerve signals in arms or extremities
  • Superior Vena Cava Syndrome, resulting in blood flow obstruction in the upper torso

How Long Do Mesothelioma Symptoms Take to Emerge?

The period between asbestos exposure and the emergence of initial mesothelioma cell types — known as the mesothelioma latency period — can be from 10-40 years.

Why Mesothelioma Symptoms Can Go Undetected

Compared to the severity of the condition, mesothelioma symptoms may appear mild to sufferers and physicians. Something as simple as a cough, fever, or appetite loss can be attributed to minor conditions, including bronchial infections, pneumonia, COPD, or the common cold.

Only as symptoms persist, intensify, or exhibit strange patterns do physicians typically begin to fit the pieces together. Suspected cancers require extensive screening. Therefore, it is important to seek regular checkups from a medical professional if you worked in an industry associated with a high risk of asbestos exposure.

Other conditions like pericardial mesothelioma are so rare that they can go undiagnosed until the patient has passed and has an autopsy performed.

For these reasons, mesothelioma patients should treat any possible symptoms seriously. Investigate any of the above symptoms with a medical doctor, and insist that they consider mesothelioma as a possibility even if they think the chances are low.