When mesothelioma is still in the early stages of growth, symptoms are usually mild and easy to confuse with the symptoms of other diseases, like asthma or digestive problems. Mesothelioma also has a very long latency period, which means that the cancer does not develop until years after asbestos exposure, so patients do not expect to develop an asbestos disease.

Many mesothelioma patients first see a doctor due to chest pain, which is a symptom of many different health conditions. As a result, mesothelioma is often confused with other diseases or not diagnosed at all until later stages of the cancer.

Learn more about Mesothelioma Symptoms

What Causes Mesothelioma Symptoms?

Because mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of internal organs, mesothelioma symptoms are caused by the pressure that the tumor puts on the nearby organs. The mesothelium, or lining of the internal organs, usually allows organs to move easily during normal functions. For example, when the lining of the lungs is healthy, it helps the lungs expand and contract during the process of breathing. When a mesothelioma tumor begins to grow, it puts pressure on nearby organs and restricts their normal movements, which causes pain and discomfort.

Pleural Mesothelioma Symptoms

For a patient with pleural mesothelioma, pressure from the tumor interferes with the movements of the patient's lungs. This makes it difficult for the patient to breathe, and results in a variety of symptoms such as:

  • Chest pain
  • Drowsiness
  • Coughing
  • Back pain
  • Weight loss
  • A general feeling of illness.
  • Pleural efflusion, or extra fluid in the space between the two layers of the lining of the lung. Pleural efflusion can contribute to breathing problems and chest pain because it exerts pressure on the lungs.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Symptoms

Peritoneal mesothelioma tumors put pressure on digestive organs such as the intestines. Peritoneal mesothelioma patients usually experience digestive problems and abdominal pain and swelling due to the pressure on organs in the lower abdomen. Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma can include:

  • Ascites, or a buildup of fluid in the peritoneal space. Ascites can result in abdominal swelling as well as a variety of digestive problems.
  • Weight loss
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Loss of appetite.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your doctor. The symptoms of mesothelioma are similar to the symptoms of many other medical conditions, so it is important to get your symptoms checked as soon as possible. If you do not have a history of asbestos exposure then it is unlikely that your symptoms are the result of mesothelioma, but it is best to see a doctor to be sure.

Important information about mesothelioma: get the book

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