Mesothelioma symptoms often do not surface or become noticeable until years after one has been exposed to asbestos. Most people with the disease have worked or lived in areas where they’ve inhaled the toxic fibers or dust for prolonged periods of time. Early symptoms of the disease often get overlooked or mistakenly attributed to an unrelated condition, due to their resemblance to illnesses such as pneumonia. Because of this, a correct diagnosis may be delayed.
Common symptoms exhibited in patients with pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lungs and chest cavity, include chest pain, chronic cough, and respiratory issues. Other symptoms that may occur in pleural mesothelioma patients less frequently include weight loss and fever.
Symptoms commonly associated with peritoneal mesothelioma, which occurs on the abdominal, cavity include abdominal pain or swelling, bowel obstruction, anemia, and other health problems. Because symptoms of both types of the disease are also connected to other serious conditions, it is important to obtain a proper diagnosis for one’s illness.
Pleural effusion is said to be among the most common of all mesothelioma symptoms. Pleural effusion occurs when there is a buildup of fluid between the pleura that lines the chest and diaphragm and that which lines the lungs. Mesothelial cells in this region normally produce some fluid that lubricates the area between the lung and chest wall, however, excess fluid can lead to major health issues.
Symptoms of pleural effusion include shortness of breath, pain, dry cough, and other conditions that may range from mild to severe. An x-ray of the chest can help determine whether pleural effusion has occurred in mesothelioma patients. The condition may be symptomatic of other diseases as well, therefore doctors often take a sample of the fluid to get a correct diagnosis.
Research is ongoing to find an effective means of screening for early detection of mesothelioma.