Symptoms of Mesothelioma

Some of the signs and symptoms of mesothelioma may not materialize until 20 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos and sometimes even longer. In the early stages Mesothelioma does not have many symptoms and when they do develop they are often caused by the cancer pressing on a nerve or other body organs.

The symptoms of mesothelioma may include:

The above symptoms can be caused by conditions other than cancer, but your GP should always be visited to have the symptoms checked out, particularly if they don't go away after a couple of weeks.

Most people present with complaints of shortness of breath or chest pain. Surprisingly, this pain is often not pleuritic; that is, it doesn't get worse with deep breathing.

As the disease progresses shortness of breath increases along with lack of stamina and weight loss, decreased appetite and night sweats can develop. Local invasion by the tumor can result in changing of voice, loss of function of the diaphragm, and symptoms specific to the area affected and adjacent tissues.

Types of Mesothelioma

Pleural Mesothelioma (Chest lining)

This particular form of malignant mesothelioma is by far the most common, constituting up to 70% of all diagnosed cases of mesothelioma.

Pleural mesothelioma is a form of cancer that develops in the pleura, or outer lining of the lungs. The mesothelium is a large membrane of tissue that provides a protective surface for several of the organs and for both the chest cavity and the abdominal cavity (peritoneal mesothelioma). Pleura is a term for the dual layered mesothelium membrane that surrounds the lungs; the outer layer (the parietal layer) attaches to the chest wall, while the inner layer (the visceral layer) wraps around the lungs. The narrow space between the two is called the pleural area.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma

The symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma may involve weight loss, pain and abdominal swelling due to the build up of fluid in the abdominal cavity. Other symptoms include blood clotting abnormalities, fever, anaemia and bowel obstruction.

Pain when swallowing or neck and face swelling can mean that the cancer has spread beyond the mesothelioma to other parts of the body but, as previously stated, these symptoms may be caused by less serious conditions.

Pericardial Mesothelioma (Heart sac)

The symptoms of Pericardial Mesothelioma can include an irregular heartbeat, little or no stamina along with chest pain and the diagnosis is often overlooked initially as these characteristics can also be symptomatic of many other heart conditions.