Common Symptoms of Mesothelioma
Since mesothelioma has four different forms, there are a few symptoms that are common, and some symptoms are specific to the location of the tumor.
For instance, fatigue is a common symptom that happens during pericardial, peritoneal and pleural mesothelioma cancer. However, symptoms such as heart palpitations are only related to pericardial cancer.
Moreover, there are a few early symptoms of mesothelioma that are quite similar to conditions such as flu and pneumonia.
Below we have curated a list of symptoms common with different types of mesothelioma cancer.
Symptoms of Peritoneal Mesothelioma
Most early signs of this cancer are quite similar to digestive issues such menstrual disorders and bowel syndrome. However, there are a few symptoms that are directly linked to this cancer:
- Abdominal swelling
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
For this type of cancer, doctors often prescribe strong drugs and chemotherapy to reduce the signs and stop the growth of the tumor.
Symptoms of Pericardial Mesothelioma
Similarly, there are many early symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma that most doctors confuse with a heart disease. That’s because in this type of cancer, the tumor forms on the thin lining surrounding the heart.
- Chest pain
- Difficulty in breathing
- Heart palpitations
- Heart murmurs
- Breath shortness
Pericardial mesothelioma is a very rare disease. The pericardium becomes quite thick, and it makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood at a faster rate.
Symptoms of Testicular Mesothelioma
There are many illnesses and injuries that can cause inflammation in testicles. However, you need to get a proper checkup and eliminate any chances of testicular mesothelioma. Common symptoms of this cancer include:
- Swollen testes
- Testicular pain
- Lump in the scrotum
This is one of the rarest cancers and is often identified by a lump in the patient’s testes.
The First Few Symptoms of Mesothelioma
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Unfortunately, in most cases, mesothelioma stays undiagnosed until the symptoms worsen. A few early signs include cough, chest and abdominal pain, shortness of breath and shoulder pain. So, if you are going through these symptoms, request your doctor to recommend you a scan and reduce all the chances of the tumor going out of your hands.
How to Detect Mesothelioma?
No procedure other than biopsy can confirm mesothelioma. However, the first few symptoms might get noticed through blood tests or x-rays. Unfortunately, that’s because the early signs are an indication of some common diseases and do not always show any signs of cancer.
It is imperative to consult your doctor as soon as the first signs start appearing. Moreover, you should also share about your exposure to asbestos to help the doctor connect all the dots.
It is safe to say that all the symptoms of mesothelioma are the first step to start a diagnostic procedure. Unfortunately, most major symptoms do not appear before stage 3 or 4.
This means that most patients do not see a specialist until the tumor has grown and also reached other structures of your body.
In that case, it is imperative to share about your asbestos exposure on every visit to your doctor. Moreover, do ask your doctor if they recommend cancer screenings to get to the root of the problem.
If you suspect this cancer, you need to be proactive because otherwise it is quite hard to detect mesothelioma in the first two stages.
In some cases, the production of pleural fluid is quite rapid and usually happens in the first two stages. This then results in cough or shortness of breath without the spread of the tumor.
Factors Affecting Symptoms
The small size of the tumor is the first reason why most patients of mesothelioma don’t experience any signs of the first two stages of cancer. Unfortunately, the tumor doesn’t grow in size very quickly and so, many people only identify it in the last two cancer stages.
Some patients suffer from chest pain, usually when the tumor spreads and grows enough to reach the chest walls and its nerves. Similarly, a shortness of breath is caused by mesothelioma tumors restricting the expansion of lungs, resulting in poor oxygen circulation.
With the growth of the tumor, other tissues and organs are also not spared. The cancer tissue starts compromising other organs and tissues, leading to malfunction and eventually an organ failure.
Signs of Mesothelioma for Every Stage
While the signs of mesothelioma vary for different people at every stage, some of you might experience a few common symptoms that may indicate the presence of a tumor.
Early Signs of Mesothelioma – Stage 1 and Stage 2
Last Signs of Mesothelioma – Stage 3 and Stage 4
- Persistent pain
- Bowel obstruction
- Weight loss
- Complication in breathing
- Fatigue and anemia
- Difficulty in swallowing
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Coping with Mesothelioma-related Symptoms
Some mesothelioma symptoms are related to cancer but are also quite similar to the after-effects of most cancer treatments. However, the symptoms of a treatment start diminishing after a week or so, but mesothelioma-related signs grow with time, if not given timely attention.
That is why you should consult a specialist for proper symptom management. In that case, a professional palliative care specialist may help you in maintaining and then improving your life’s quality during and after cancer.
Care including medication, occupational therapy, physical therapy and different other approaches is crucial to manage your symptoms and curb their effects as soon as possible.
Here are some ways in which mesothelioma-related symptoms can be managed in a better way:
This treatment alone can’t do any magic but when done with other therapies, it can help reduce the size of the tumor and give you some relief from pain and other unbearable symptoms.
For patients suffering with nausea, anxiety and pain while being treated for mesothelioma, therapies such as mind-body and acupuncture help reduce the symptoms by a great degree.
This method of pain management helps the patient to release fluid frequently at their home.
Management of symptoms is not possible without any solid communication between you and your doctor. You should be open to your doctor about the intensity of pain you might be experiencing. This way they can recommend other therapies that might prove supportive in your case.
Finding the right management procedure is key in overcoming the symptoms of this cancer with ease. Make sure that you also do your homework and choose the mesothelioma lawyer who is ready to hear your problems and guide you in a better way.
Frequently Asked Questions
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Here are some common questions asked by people like you who want to know more about symptoms related to mesothelioma.
Is It Possible to Misdiagnose Mesothelioma?
Yes, it is. It is because this is a rare form of cancer and is associated by many different complexities. Moreover, some symptoms of mesothelioma are quite similar to the signs of different other cancers and diseases.
For instance, chest pain, heart palpitation and cough are often common with diseases such as heart attacks and even Covid-19 now. That is why only specialists with years of experience can diagnose this cancer accurately.
It’s a good idea to get a second opinion and ask your doctor to recommend a scan and some blood tests to evaluate your situation properly.
What Should Be Your First Course of Action After a Diagnosis of Mesothelioma?
If you believe that you have all the symptoms related to this cancer, your first step should be to find a specialist that is also an expert of mesothelioma. It is imperative to find an expert because they have years of experience in managing and treating this disease.
Moreover, these specialists are the right people you on radiology, surgery or any other method that might help reduce the growth of the tumor. If you can’t find a good expert, ask your local consultant to recommend a specialist that might prove helpful for you.
Which Tests Help Diagnose Mesothelioma?
A radiological imaging followed by a biopsy can help diagnose mesothelioma at an early stage. As soon as you detect mesothelioma-related symptoms in your body, see a doctor who would ask you to go for tests such as CT scans and chest rays of your abdomen or chest area.
These tests do help get an idea of this cancer but do not confirm the tumor’s presence. So, to receive a solid confirmation, you should visit an oncologist or surgeon for procedures such as biopsy or thoracoscopy. In addition, some blood tests can also help narrow down the diagnosis.