Symptoms of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma symptoms can appear decades after exposure to asbestos. Some symptoms of this malignancy may be modest and misinterpreted as symptoms of other disorders. If you are suffering from any symptoms, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Mesothelioma?

The symptoms of malignant mesothelioma vary depending on the patient’s disease stage and type. There are various forms of mesothelioma, each with its own set of symptoms.

Chest pain, shortness of breath, and a buildup of chest fluid are common symptoms of pleural mesothelioma. Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include stomach pain, bloating, and weight loss.

The sole known cause of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure. Because of how slowly the disease develops, it can take 10–50 years for symptoms to manifest after someone inhales or ingests asbestos fibers.

Untreated mesothelioma symptoms can progress and become severe in a matter of months. Patients who do not receive therapy live an average of 6 months after diagnosis.

Following a diagnosis, you may be able to receive treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation to alleviate your symptoms and extend your life.

Signs and Symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma

The pleura, which is the protective tissue lining that surrounds the lungs and chest, is where malignant pleural mesothelioma develops.

Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of mesothelioma, accounting for around 80% of cases.

Pleural mesothelioma symptoms include chest pain, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, coughing, and weariness.

The only type of mesothelioma that has its own staging system is pleural mesothelioma.

Symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma in its Early Stage

Patients with early-stage (stages 1 and 2) pleural mesothelioma may have vague symptoms that resemble those of less serious illnesses.

Symptoms of early-stage pleural mesothelioma include:

  • Chest ache
  • Having trouble breathing
  • Fluid buildup (pleural effusions) causes fatigue.
  • Chronic dry cough
  • Breathing difficulty

Because symptoms may go undiagnosed, many people are not diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in its early stages. It is critical to record any of the aforementioned symptoms and visit a doctor, especially if you have been exposed to asbestos.

Symptoms of Advanced Pleural Mesothelioma

Patients with advanced pleural mesothelioma (stages 3 and 4) may experience more painful and uncomfortable symptoms. During this stage, cancer spreads to the lymph nodes or circulation. Existing symptoms may worsen, and new, severe symptoms may arise as a result.

Symptoms of late-stage pleural mesothelioma include:

  • Anemia (inadequate red blood cell production)
  • Clots in the blood
  • Chest ache
  • Chronic exhaustion
  • Hemoptysis (coughing up blood)
  • Having difficulty swallowing
  • Sweating excessively
  • Fever
  • Appetite loss
  • Lumps beneath the chest skin
  • Muscle wasting
  • Significant weight reduction
  • Breathing difficulty

Unfortunately, patients with advanced pleural mesothelioma symptoms may be ineligible for life-extending surgical procedures such as extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP). Other treatments, such as dietary therapy, medication, and physical therapy, may, thankfully, still help improve quality of life.

Signs and Symptoms of Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Peritoneal mesothelioma originates in the abdomen’s soft tissue lining (peritoneum). The stomach, intestines, liver, and spleen are the most commonly affected organs in this kind of mesothelioma.

Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include:

  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Stomach bloating (distention)
  • Bowel habit changes (bowel blockage)
  • Constipation and/or diarrhea
  • Peritoneal ascites (excess abdominal fluid)
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Malnutrition and appetite loss
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Sweating at night
  • Weight reduction

Peritoneal mesothelioma tumors can impinge on abdominal organs and create edema as they grow. This results in an uncomfortable bloating sensation in the stomach.

Symptoms of Rarer Mesothelioma Types

Pericardial and testicular mesothelioma are far more uncommon forms of mesothelioma. They frequently have a dismal health prognosis.

Fortunately, there are various indicators to look for to guarantee early discovery and treatment.

Symptoms of Pericardial Mesothelioma

Pericardial mesothelioma develops in the heart’s protective lining (pericardium). Due to tissue inflammation, it produces stiffness and constriction of the heart muscles.

Symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma may include:

  • Chest ache
  • Coughing
  • Having trouble breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Arrhythmias are irregular heartbeats and murmurs.
  • Sweating at night
  • Palpitations
  • Chest constriction
  • Unknown cause of weight loss

Pericardiocentesis, a surgical technique that removes extra fluid from the pericardium, may help patients manage pericardial mesothelioma symptoms.

Symptoms of Testicular Mesothelioma

Testicular mesothelioma develops when malignant tumors originate in the testicular lining (tunica vaginalis).

Testicular mesothelioma symptoms may include:

  • Pain or discomfort around the scrotum
  • Scrotal swelling and excess fluid (hydrocele)
  • Testicular masses or masses in the testicular lining

Testicular mesothelioma is treated through surgery to remove one or both afflicted testicles, known as an orchidectomy, as well as chemotherapy.

Mesothelioma Symptoms Diagnosis

When you start to notice symptoms, you should see a doctor to acquire a diagnosis. A biopsy is the only way to confirm a mesothelioma diagnosis.

During a biopsy, a doctor will collect tissue or fluid samples to test for the presence of cancer cells using a small needle. Knowing the signs of mesothelioma, on the other hand, may help you get an earlier diagnosis, the best treatment options, and a better prognosis.

Some doctors advise patients with known mesothelioma risk factors, such as a history of asbestos exposure, to undergo routine imaging tests to detect any symptoms of cancer early on. Chest X-rays and computed tomography scans (CT scans) are examples of these tests.

Symptoms of Mesothelioma Misdiagnosis

Because mesothelioma is so uncommon, clinicians frequently misdiagnose symptoms. Depending on the location of the cancer, a doctor may misdiagnose mesothelioma symptoms as those of a less serious ailment.

Pleural mesothelioma symptoms can be misdiagnosed as:

  • A noncancerous (benign) tumor
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) Bronchitis
  • Cancer of the lungs
  • Pneumonia

Peritoneal mesothelioma symptoms can be misinterpreted as:

  • Crohn’s disease is a kind of IBD.
  • IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
  • Cancer of the ovaries

Obtaining a formal and accurate diagnosis might assist you in receiving proper cancer therapy to alleviate your symptoms as soon as feasible. Consulting with a mesothelioma specialist can assist you in receiving an accurate diagnosis and avoiding misdiagnosis.

Mesothelioma Symptoms Treatment

There are various mesothelioma therapies that help alleviate or control symptoms. These treatment methods can differ depending on the type and stage of mesothelioma as well as the patient’s overall health.

The treatment’s purpose is to increase life expectancy and quality of life. Treatment for advanced mesothelioma patients frequently focuses on treating unpleasant symptoms and keeping the patient comfortable rather than improving survival time. This is referred to as palliative care.

Management of Pleural Mesothelioma Symptoms

Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are the most common curative therapies for pleural mesothelioma. Traditional pleural mesothelioma treatment includes surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation to remove or shrink tumors.

Palliative care is available to individuals who are unable to receive life-extending treatments.

In addition to regular treatment, there are several palliative care options for managing your pleural mesothelioma symptoms.

Palliative cancer care for pleural mesothelioma may involve the following treatments:

  • Clinical trials: New mesothelioma treatments are tested in clinical trials in the goal of treating symptoms and finding a cure. Your doctor can help you assess if you are eligible to participate in a clinical trial.
  • Pleurodesis: This surgery seals the two layers of the pleura, preventing excess fluid from accumulating and allowing the patient to avoid frequent punctures to drain fluid.
  • PleurXTM Catheter: This little at-home catheter can drain excess fluid and relieve chest pressure and pain.
  • Thoracentesis: A tiny needle is used by doctors to drain excess fluid from the thoracic cavity (chest) to help you breathe easier.

Aside from mainstream therapies, there are other alternative therapy methods that may be accessible to alleviate pleural mesothelioma symptoms.

Breathing techniques, acupuncture, and yoga are examples of alternative therapy. These natural remedies can also help with treatment side effects such as fatigue, nausea, anxiety, and more. They are not, however, a replacement for medical treatment.

Management of Peritoneal Mesothelioma Symptoms

Peritoneal mesothelioma is commonly treated with surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.

Cytoreduction with hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) is a surgical treatment in which visible tumors are removed from the abdomen and the region is treated with a heated chemotherapy solution to eliminate any remaining cancer cells. HIPEC cytoreduction can alleviate peritoneal mesothelioma symptoms and enhance overall quality of life.

Radiation therapy, which shrinks tumors and kills cancer cells, can also aid with symptom control.

Alternative therapies may also be utilized as palliative care to assist peritoneal mesothelioma patients in managing their pain, nausea, stress, sleeping problems, and other symptoms. As with pleural mesothelioma, it’s crucial to remember that, while beneficial, these therapies should not be utilized in place of regular medical care from a mesothelioma specialist.

Learn More About Mesothelioma Symptoms

Mesothelioma symptoms might develop over time. It is critical to understand the symptoms of this rare illness, particularly if you have been exposed to asbestos.

If you have symptoms of mesothelioma, even if you are unsure whether you were exposed to asbestos, consult a doctor as soon as possible and tell them about your exposure history. A mesothelioma doctor can then request tests to confirm your diagnosis.