Mesothelioma – The Signs
First Signs and Symptoms of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma begins as tiny nodules on the lining of the lungs or abdomen. The cancer doesn’t usually cause symptoms until the disease has grown or spread.
Symptoms of chest pain, weight loss and fatigue commonly do not appear until the tumors start to press against nerves, organs, bones and other parts of the body, which happens during stage 3 or stage 4 mesothelioma.
Because it does not usually produce such signs until much later in the disease process, it is difficult to diagnose mesothelioma in stage 1 or 2 based on symptoms alone. However, in some instances, early-stage mesothelioma can produce enough pleural fluid around the lung to cause shortness of breath or cough without having spread.
How Do You Know If You Have Mesothelioma?
A biopsy will confirm if you have mesothelioma. But doctors may first notice the early signs of mesothelioma by accident. A routine test, such as an X-ray or blood tests, may detect something unusual. Because symptoms resemble less serious diseases, they are not good indicators of the cancer.
Informing your primary care doctor about any history of asbestos exposure and seeking cancer screenings can help lead to an earlier-than-normal mesothelioma diagnosis and a much better chance of qualifying for life-extending therapy.
Common Symptoms by Type of Mesothelioma
Some mesothelioma types share similar symptoms, while other signs of the cancer are unique to the tumor location.
Addressing symptoms as soon as they develop can improve medical outcomes and life expectancy.
When symptoms are identified and treated quickly, patients may benefit from higher quality of life and longer life. Symptom control is a vital component of pleural mesothelioma treatment.