Mesothelioma is a cancer of tissue in the lungs, stomach, heart, or other organs, and it’s often caused by exposure to asbestos. Because of this, individuals who worked in professions that were more likely to be exposed to asbestos are at a higher risk for developing the disease. However, other individuals may have been exposed to asbestos without realizing it.
Mesothelioma is a severe condition that usually manifests in the lungs, although there are other forms of this cancer. Unfortunately, detecting mesothelioma early on is often challenging because the symptoms often mimic many other lung and heart conditions.
However, catching mesothelioma as early as possible improves the odds of treatment, and there are groupings of symptoms to know about.
In this guide, you’ll learn some of the signs and symptoms of mesothelioma.
Different Types Of Mesothelioma
While there are some overlapping signs of mesothelioma, they generally present differently depending on what kind of mesothelioma is present. The three main kinds of mesothelioma are pleural, peritoneal, and pericardial mesothelioma.
Pleural mesothelioma is the most well-known, as it impacts the lungs. Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the mesothelial tissue in the stomach. Finally, pericardial mesothelioma is cancer in the mesothelial lining of the heart.
Now, let’s break down the symptoms of mesothelioma according to type.
The Symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma
Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type, and it occurs from inhalation of asbestos fibers. These fibers are small enough to get into the lining of the lungs and cause irritation and inflammation.
Over time, this irritation causes cell mutation, which leads to tumors. Then, the tissue in the lungs will thicken and cause issues with breathing.
Some of the early signs of pleural mesothelioma include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Fluid builds up in the lungs
- Constant coughs
- Blood clots
- Weight loss
- Back pain
While some of these symptoms are also signs of other lung and respiratory problems, they are concerning regardless. It’s best to see a healthcare provider to diagnose the cause of these symptoms.
The Symptoms of Peritoneal Mesothelioma
While pleural mesothelioma accounts for around 80% of cases, the other 20% is primarily peritoneal mesothelioma. This condition occurs when individuals swallow asbestos dust, and the fibers enter the stomach lining.
While there are some overlapping symptoms, like fatigue and weight loss, there are some unique symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma. These include:
- Swelling of the abdomen
- Pain in the stomach
- Appetite loss
- Obstruction of the intensities
If you have these symptoms, reach out to a trained healthcare professional for help. Catching mesothelioma and other concerning conditions early on is the best bet for treatment.
The Symptoms of Pericardial Mesothelioma
While pericardial mesothelioma only accounts for around 1% of cases, knowing the symptoms is still helpful. Pericardial mesothelioma occurs when asbestos reaches the lining of the heart, although it’s still unknown how this happens.
The signs of pericardial mesothelioma can include:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Problems breathing
- Chest pain
Chest pain and breathing problems are always a cause for concern, so don’t wait to talk to a doctor.
Other Symptoms and Types oF Mesothelioma
It’s also possible in very rare cases to have mesothelioma in the testicles. There’s metastatic mesothelioma which spreads throughout the body.
Overall, if you notice any sudden changes in your body, it’s best to seek a diagnosis and treatment from a medical professional. If you believe you could have been exposed to asbestos, screening and diagnosis is especially wise.
Laila Azzahra is a professional writer and blogger that loves to write about technology, business, entertainment, science, and health.