What Are the Symptoms of Mesothelioma?
Initial mesothelioma symptoms are typically mild but worsen as the cancer spreads.
Common symptoms of mesothelioma include:
- Blood in stool
- Bloody sputum
- Breathing problems
- Chronic cough
- Fluid buildup in the affected area
- Rib pain
- Shoulder pain
- Unexplained weight loss
- Upper back pain
- Vomiting blood
Video Summary: Amy Fair, a nurse with over 20 years of mesothelioma experience, explains the symptoms that victims exposed to asbestos watch for. View Transcript.
Some of the symptoms of mesothelioma at first, and the reason people delay treatment, is it can be something that mimics a cold. You know it can be a small fever, it can be chills, it can be shortness of breath, a minor cough. This is also followed sometimes by substantial weight loss.
Of concern is when those develop into severe fatigue, severe cough and someone then develops something called a pleural effusion, where they’re getting fluid in the lung, which usually warrants them to seek more extensive medical treatment.
An unresolved cough or an unresolved episode of shortness of breath, fever, chills, weight loss, should warrant someone to seek further testing and treatment by their physician.
The symptoms of mesothelioma, with the pleural mesothelioma, start many times with shortness of breath, fatigue, extreme weight loss, chest pain.
The symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma that attacks the abdomen, mainly is ascites, which is fluid in the abdomen, abdominal distension, vomiting, some constipation if there’s blockages.
Pericardial Mesothelioma, some of the symptoms can be, again, chest pain, shortness of breath, sometimes a condition called Atrial Fibrillation where the heart is not beating appropriately because of the constricting disease in the lining of the heart.
If you feel like you’re not getting better, this is something new for you, it’s certainly best to encourage your doctor to proceed with more testing.
Early mesothelioma symptoms are often mild, and most diagnoses are not made until after the cancer has spread. Additionally, these early symptoms may mimic symptoms of other, less common illnesses like pneumonia or the flu. The delay in diagnosis can worsen a patient’s health outlook (prognosis).
If you are experiencing these symptoms but have not yet been diagnosed with mesothelioma, the Mayo Clinic recommends seeing a doctor and sharing with them your history of asbestos exposure.
Quick Facts About Mesothelioma Symptoms
- Most mesothelioma symptoms do not appear until after the cancer has already spread, according to the Moffitt Cancer Center.
- The American Cancer Society notes that most people with mesothelioma had symptoms for several months before being officially diagnosed.
- Doctors can treat mesothelioma symptoms with surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, and techniques designed to manage pain.