The Symptoms of Mesothelioma

The Symptoms of Mesothelioma

As was stated previously, symptoms of mesothelioma can vary, but the most common general symptoms are:

* Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
* Coughing
* Pain in chest or abdomen
* Fluid in the chest, lungs, or abdomen
* Weight loss
* Loss of appetite
* Inability to sleep
* Husky voice
* Difficulty swallowing

It is the first two symptoms that generally bring a patient to the doctor's office. Both difficulty breathing and persistent coughing are caused by the lung's inability to expand properly due to tumors in the pleural region. The growing tumors cause the pleura, pericardium, or peritoneum to expand, thus allow fluid to enter. That generally causes pain - acute to severe - in the affected regions, such as the chest or abdomen. Breathing difficulties also make it hard to sleep and often result in loss of appetite and, eventually, weight loss.

Depending on the type of mesothelioma diagnosed - pleural, pericardial, or peritoneal - symptoms might vary from the above, which pertain mostly to pleural mesothelioma, the most common form of the disease.

Common symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma might include:

* Abdominal pain, acute to severe
* Swelling of the abdominal region due to fluid accumulation
* Breathing difficulties
* Loss of appetite resulting in weight loss
* Bowel obstruction
* Nausea
* Vomiting
* Weakness
* Fever
* Anemia

Common symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma might include:

* Chest pain, ranging from uncomfortable to severe
* Shortness of breath
* Heart palpitations
* Persistent coughing
* Extreme fatigue after minimal activity or exertion

Because the three types of the disease are similar but centered in different parts of the body, the patient is likely to have symptoms that overlap. For example, nearly all meso patients suffer from shortness of breath and fatigue, but the pain may be more apparent in the abdominal/stomach area for peritoneal patients and in the chest for those with pleural or pericardial mesothelioma.

Symptoms of Mesothelioma 3

Symptoms of Mesothelioma 3

About 15% of Mesothelioma cases are found in the early stages, before the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes or elsewhere. The 5 year survival rate for people with Mesothelioma is 50% if there is no evidence of cancer in lymph nodes at the time of surgery. Unfortunately, in most cases, the spread of cancer has already occurred even if not detected by current medical tests. When all Mesothelioma stages are considered together, the 5 year survival rate is only about 14%. Many early symptoms of Mesothelioma are diagnosed incidentally - they are found as a result of tests that are done for an unrelated medical condition. Although Mesothelioma does not cause any symptoms until it has spread too far to be cured, symptoms do occur in some patients with early Mesothelioma . Prompt attention to symptoms, leading to early diagnosis and treatment can result in a cure for some patients. For others, prompt attention to symptoms can improve the likelihood that treatment can extend their life and relieve many of their symptoms.

Common signs and symptoms of Mesothelioma include:

* A cough that does not go away
* Chest pain, often aggravated by deep breathing
* Hoarseness
* Weight loss and loss of appetite
* Bloody or rust-colored sputum (spit or phlegm)
* Shortness of breath
* Fever without a known reason
* Recurring infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia
* New onset of wheezing
* When Mesothelioma spreads to distant organs, it may cause:
* Bone pain
* Neurologic changes (such as weakness or numbness of a limb, dizziness)
* Jaundice (yellow coloring of the skin and eyes)
* Masses near the surface of the body, due to cancer spreading to the skin or to lymph nodes (collection of immune system cells) in the neck or above the collarbone.

A. Pleural Mesothelioma Symptoms
Some of the symptoms of pleural mesothelioma (mesothelioma cancer of the lung lining) include:
  • pain in the lower back or the side of the chest
  • shortness of breath
  • a persistent cough
  • difficulty swallowing food
  • fever and sweating
  • fatigue
  • weight loss.

These symptoms of mesothelioma are also common to many minor ailments and, therefore, may not cause a doctor to suspect mesothelioma.

Pleural Effusion-fluid in the Lungs
One of the most common and specific symptoms of pleural mesothelioma is the accumulation of fluid between the lungs and chest cavity. This generally causes shortness of breath, and requires a doctor to drain the fluid, called fine-needle aspiration, to make breathing easier and relieve chest pain. This symptom is more unique to mesothelioma, making it more likely that you may have the disease.

B. Peritoneal Mesothelioma Symptoms
Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma (abdominal mesothelioma - mesothelioma of the lining of the stomach) include:
  • stomach pain
  • nausea and vomiting
  • weight loss.

Like pleural mesothelioma, these symptoms of mesothelioma are also common to many minor ailments and, therefore, may not cause a doctor to suspect mesothelioma.