Mesothelioma Symptoms

Mesothelioma usually occurs as a result of asbestos inhalation or ingestion but the symptoms typically only start to appear 20 to 50 years after the exposure to asbestos.

Exposure to asbestos does not always result in a person developing an asbestos related disease. A person may not even be aware that they have been in contact with asbestos in the past and therefore may not relate any symptoms to an asbestos disease.

symptoms of mesothelioma

Mesothelioma symptoms are common to many other diseases that arise in the lungs, heart or abdomen and so it is very difficult for the GP to immediately recognise that the symptoms are due to mesothelioma. They may be mistaken for bronchitis or heart disease which are more common.

The GP will usually ask for further tests to be undertaken before he can properly diagnose the disease. It is important for your GP to be aware that you have been exposed to asbestos in the past so he can more quickly relate the symptoms. He may refer you to an oncologist at the local hospital who is a specialist in the management of cancers.

The three types of mesothelioma, pleural, peritoneal and pericardial are similar but centred in different parts of the body. Patients are likely to have some symptoms that overlap. For example nearly all 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.

The symptoms vary from case to case and with the severity and stage of the illness. Often the overall health of the individual and their age may play a role in how the patient is affected by the disease and which mesothelioma symptoms are the more troublesome.

Below is a list of some symptoms which may be experienced for each of the three types of mesothelioma.

Symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma

  • Chest pain / Fatigue
  • Persistant coughing
  • Pleural effusion
  • Blood in sputum
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of appetite / Weight loss
  • Hoarseness / Wheezing
  • Recurring infections e.g.bronchitis, pneumonia

Symptoms of Peritoneal Mesothelioma

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Problems with bowel function
  • Nausea / Fever
  • Weight loss / Loss of appetite
  • Mass in abdomen / Abdominal swelling
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Anaemia

Symptoms of Pericardial Mesothelioma

  • Chest pain / Fatigue
  • Persistant coughing
  • Heart palpitations
  • Extreme fatigue following minimal exertion
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