Mesothelioma Symptoms can occur years after having been exposed to an asbestos–contaminatedarea. Mesothelioma is a very serious and potentially deadly form of cancer. It is a type of cancer which originates in the membrane linings of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. This type of cancer is rare but fetal. Mesothelioma is always linked to asbestos exposure either through ingestion or inhalation. Let’s review some further details and important symptoms of this devastating disease.
Mesothelioma generally occurs in elderly male patients. The reason is because the disease tends to take 30 to 40 years to develop after exposure to asbestos to produce symptoms; therefore, it would not be present in younger people. It also tends to show up in patients who have a greater chance of being exposed to asbestos at some point in their lives or careers. The use of asbestos in many applications was fairly widespread before the 80’s. It was not identified as a carcinogen and regulated for safety reasons until the early 1980’s. Therefore many people had the potential to be regularly exposed to this material.
The people most at risk for asbestos exposure include the following: construction workers; dock workers; ship building workers; ship renovation workers; aircraft workers; building renovation workers; auto clutch and brake manufacturing workers; asbestos mine workers, and friends and relatives who may have come in regular contact with these people.
Unfortunately, mesothelioma is one of the most aggressive, painful and deadly of all cancer types. There are different types of mesothelioma: pleural, pericardial and peritoneal. Pleural mesothelioma, the major type of mesothelioma, begins in the lining of the lungs, and represents about 80% of the cases. But it can also begin in the lining of the stomach or even the lining of the heart.
The major mesothelioma symptoms can vary quite a bit and be confused with other diseases or illnesses. But let’s review some of the key symptoms based on the type of mesothelioma.
For those who are suffering from pleural mesothelioma, the affected area begins in the lining of the lungs. As the tumor in this area grows, it creates a build-up of fluids. Therefore the key symptoms of this type of mesothelioma can be shortness of breath; constant chest pain which can range from mild to severe; constant hacking cough which can range from mild to severe; and unexplained weight loss.
Another type of mesothelioma is called peritoneal mesothelioma. The cancer cells first invade the lining and the tissue which surrounds the abdomen. Typical symptoms for this type of disease includes: abdominal swelling; a mass in the abdomen; sudden and unexpected weight loss; anemic blood; nausea; abdominal pain which can range from mild to severe; diarrhea which can range from mild to severe; and constipation which can range from mild to severe.
The third type of mesothelioma is called pericardial mesothelioma. It is very rare and it begins in the lining and tissue which surround the heart. It causes a buildup of fluid which affects the heart and other parts of the body. Typical pericardial mesothelioma symptoms include constant chest pain which can range from mild to severe; a cough which doesn’t go away; and irregular heartbeat; and constant unexplained fatigue.
If these symptoms appear and it is confirmed that it is mesothelioma and not another problem then the cancer cannot most likely be cured but controlled. If you know that you are at risk for developing mesothelioma, it is good idea to have regular checkups and screenings to try to stop the progression of the disease in the early stages to prevent fetal consequences.