Symptoms of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma can be difficult to diagnose. Symptoms can mimic other conditions and people often ignore them or mistake them for other ailments. By the time symptoms appear, the disease is often advanced.
The crucial symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include chest pain and coughing, and shortness of breath. Weakness, weight loss, lower back pains, and/or difficulty in swallowing may also occur infrequently. Sometimes a chest x-ray may reveal a pleural effusion, which is an accumulation of fluid in the pleural space the space between the lungs and the chest wall. However, other tests are needed in addition to an x-ray. (See Diagnosing Mesothelioma.)
When the tumor begins to spread over the pleura it also reduces the pleuras flexibility. The lungs become restricted and get smaller causing breathing to become more difficult over time.
Peritoneal mesothelioma involves the abdominal cavity and can infiltrate the liver, spleen or the bowel. Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include weight loss, nausea, and pain and swelling in the abdomen due to a buildup of fluid or a mass in the abdomen. Other symptoms can include difficulty with bowel movements, anemia, and swelling of the feet.
A person with any of these symptoms who has been exposed to asbestos should see a doctor right away.