Mesothelioma is a certain form of cancer that is actually very rare. It is mainly caused by exposure to asbestos. Diagnosing mesothelioma is an uphill task because its early symptoms mimic those presented by other ailments. The symptoms of mesothelioma can be divided based on what part of the body the cancer affects.
Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma
Pleural mesothelioma affects the tissues in the lining of the lungs commonly known as pleura. Its common symptoms include
Shortness of breath
This is characterized by difficulty in breathing. It comes suddenly and in extremely high intensity.
This is one of the major symptoms of mesothelioma of the chest. Chest pains related to pleural mesothelioma are normally felt at the side or lower back of the chest.
Fluid buildup or pleural effusions
This is signaled by excess fluid buildup in the areas surrounding the lungs. This excess fluid buildup prevents the lungs from moving freely during breathing.
A cough is meant to be a natural action that ensures your airways are free of mucus and other irritants. A cough, whether dry or chesty should naturally clear up after around three weeks at most. However if the cough goes on for more than three weeks then it is labelled as a persistent or chronic cough.
Unexplained weight loss
It is normal to sometimes lose or gain a little weight. However when you start losing too much weight without any particular reason then something must be wrong.
Excessive sweating and fever
Pleural mesothelioma is also characterized by extremely high temperatures and extra active sweat glands.
Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma
This type of mesothelioma affects the abdomen. Unlike pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal is more difficult to diagnose. The two however share some common symptoms such as weight loss and fatigue.
Abdominal pain and swelling
Patients experience unbearable, persistent pain and inflammation in the abdomen. This occurs mainly because the abdomen is the area attacked by this type of mesothelioma.
Abdominal fluid build up
This condition is usually referred to as ascites. Since it is as a result of mesothelioma which is a cancer it is considered malignant ascites. This fluid buildup in the abdominal cavity causes serious discomfort. It is associated with other symptoms such as weight gain, shortness of breath, and abdominal swelling.
This lack of appetite is also caused by the abdominal fluid buildup mentioned above. Consequently it also results into excessive weight loss.
Symptoms of other types of mesothelioma
The type of mesothelioma is determined by the area of the body tissues it affects. Other than pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma we also have
· Pericardial mesothelioma which affects the lining of the heart
· Testicular mesothelioma which is extremely rare and presents itself as a tumor in the testes
Note that the symptoms of these other less common types of mesothelioma are not very clear. The symptoms of pleural mesothelioma aggravate depending on the stage of the cancer. Normally pleural mesothelioma advances from stage 1 to 4.
It is obvious that the mentioned symptoms of mesothelioma could also signal a totally different medical condition such as pneumonia. As such it is important that you see a doctor who will conduct tests to rule out the possibility of mesothelioma.