Those who have developed the disease of mesothelioma usually do not display symptoms that cause the victim to seek medical attention until 20 to 30 years after exposure to asbestos. When these fibers embed themselves into the tissue surrounding the body’s internal organs (the mesothelium), mesothelioma cancer may develope many decades later. These embeded fibers cause constant irritation, inflammation and finally, cancer. In the beginning, mesothelioma symptoms are mild and those experiencing these early symptoms usually go unnoticed, or at least the symptoms are minimized until they become more severe.
Because initial mesothelioma symptomsdevelop decades after asbestos exposure, victims often overlook the initial symptoms until the disease progresses a few years. Because mesothelioma symptoms often mimic those of less serious illnesses, medical attention is often delayed until the the disease worsens. Because of this delay, treatment options are limited, and success suffers for the delay. It is vitally important that anyone who even suspects past asbestos exposure seek medical screening for mesothelioma and other asbestos related dieases even if they do not yet experience any of the symptoms. Mesothelioma is often misdiagnosed unless they are looking for the disease. Because of this, it is wise to get a second opinion if asbestos exposure is even suspected. Correct diagnosis of the disease, as well as understanding the stage of the disease is vital to treatment.
Early Mesothelioma Symptoms
Anyone who has had a prolonged work history with asbestos should be be aware of the increased risk associated with prolonged exposure to asbestos, since duration and intensity of exposure is directly related to the increased risk of mesothelioma.
Oftentimes early mesothelioma symptoms will mirror the symptoms of other diseases such as congestive heart failure, constipation, emphysema, or weight gain. Other symptoms common to the early stages of mesothelioma include chest pain, shortness of breath, cough, weight loss, fluid buildup, bowel obstruction, swelling of the feet, and a build-up of fluid. This fluid build-up is known as a pleural effusion.
Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of mesothelioma cancer. Because of this, those mesothelioma symptoms most commonly described refers to pleural mesothelioma.
According to a 2011 study of 221 pleural mesothelioma patients, the following symptoms were reported in the frequency listed below:
90% experience Pleural Effusion
80% experience Shortness of Breath
65% have Chest Pain
35% experience Chronic Cough
30% develop Weight Loss
Peritoneal Mesothelioma Symptoms
Peritoneal mesothelioma accounts for about 15% of mesothelioma victims.
The second most common form of mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma, develops in the tissue surrounding the abdominal cavity, known as the peritoneum. Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include:
Nausea & vomiting
Inexplicable weight loss
Sweating & fever
Swelling or pain in the abdomen
Ascites (fluid buildup between the peritoneum and the abdominal organs)
Diarrhea, constipation or any other inexplicable changes in the bowels
Development of lumps under the skin on the abdomen