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Signs & Symptoms of Mesothelioma | How to Spot Various Types of Mesothelioma

Signs and Symptoms of Mesothelioma

Many of the early symptoms of mesothelioma are the same as those likely to be caused by other problems, so at first, people may ignore them or mistake them for common, minor ailments. Most people with mesothelioma have symptoms for at least a few months before they are diagnosed.

Common Mesothelioma Symptoms by Type

Pleural Mesothelioma (Lungs)

Pleural mesothelioma symptoms and signs are similar to those occurring with less severe respiratory and other diseases, making diagnosis difficult.

Anyone with a history of asbestos exposure should seek immediate medical attention if they experience any of the following mesothelioma symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Fluid buildup around the lungs (pleural effusion)
  • Significant and unexplained weight loss
  • Chronic coughing
  • Persistent cough
  • Dry cough
  • Coughing up blood
  • Painful coughing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Fatigue
  • Respiratory complications
  • Lumps under the skin of the chest

Pleural Symptoms (Lungs)

Peritoneal Mesothelioma (Abdomen or gastrointestinal)

Patients most often experience the following peritoneal mesothelioma symptoms (many of which are often associated with other illnesses):

  • Ascites (buildup of abdominal fluid)
  • abdominal pain
  • unexplained weight loss
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea and vomiting
  • diarrhea or constipation
  • bowel obstruction
  • anemia
  • fever
  • night sweats

Peritoneal Symptoms (Abdomen)

Pericardial Mesothelioma

Pericardial mesothelioma signs and symptoms are often insidious and may include:

  • chest pain
  • dyspnea
  • heart palpitations
  • breathing difficulty
  • constant and acute cough
  • fluid in the pericardial space
  • fever
  • night sweating
  • paradoxical pulse
  • weight loss
  • generalized weakness

Pericardial Symptoms

Tunica Vaginalis Mesothelioma Symptoms

Malignant mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis represents fewer than 5% of all mesothelioma cases, and so little is known about this type of cancer and its symptoms.

In documented cases, however, a testicular mass, accumulation of fluid in the scrotum and testicular swelling is the common symptom.

Mesothelioma Symptoms Latency Period and Misdiagnose

Malignant mesothelioma symptoms usually emerge in small, subtle ways which appear in other respiratory diseases which can be confusing to the doctor.

Mesothelioma is a rare disease, so it is uncommon for a doctor to examine a patient with mesothelioma. Another difficulty that can cause a misdiagnosis, is that the disease has such a long latency period, between 15 to 60 years after exposure to asbestos, so the patient might not remember being exposed and the doctor will not attribute these symptoms as a cause to the exposure.

Again, We Will Cover the Common Types of Mesothelioma & Their Symptoms

Pleural Mesothelioma (mesothelioma of the chest) Symptoms

  • Pain in the side of the chest or lower back
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Trouble swallowing (feeling like food gets stuck)
  • Hoarseness
  • Swelling of the face and arms

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Symptoms

  • Abdominal (belly) pain
  • Swelling or fluid in the abdomen
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation

Pericardial Mesothelioma Symptoms

  • Chest pain
  • Irregular heart rhythm
  • Heart murmur
  • Shortness of breath

General Mesothelioma Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Excessive sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss (without trying)
  • Blood clots
  • Loss of appetite

These symptoms can be caused by mesothelioma, but more often they are caused by other conditions. Still, if you have any of these problems (especially if you have been exposed to asbestos ), it’s important to see a health care provider right away so the cause can be found and treated, if needed.