Think about the most deadly diseases that you know of, and you will find the word cancer in that list of yours. Cancer affects millions of people every year worldwide. It is one of the common and yet the deadliest diseases. Some cancers are treatable in the early stages, but if cancer reaches its terminal phase, there is no cure. Certain cancers are aggressive, meaning that it spreads quickly, leaving no room for treatment or other therapeutic therapies. Cancer can result from multiple causes entailing genetics to external factors. We will help you know about the Mesothelioma Symptoms.
Cancer indeed has a genetic cause, but most cases that get diagnosed have causes of external factors. Prolonged exposure to carcinogens or other cancer-causing agents can cause cancerous activity in our cells. For example, people working on construction sites, factories, or paints are more prone to develop cancer due to continuous exposure to chemicals like asbestos and other harmful substances. Construction sites have high amounts of asbestos. People working in such locations can experience lung diseases or cancer called mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is cancer caused by asbestos. It affects the mesothelial cells. Mesothelial cells are present as a layer covering our serous cavities and internal organs. Our organs have these protective cell layers, but mesothelioma cases mostly have lungs and abdominal cavities affected. Benign or malignant mesothelioma affects the lungs or abdominal cavity. If the cancer spread is malignant, it will soon spread to adjacent body organs making the treatment more complicated. It can be pleural (affecting lungs, abdominal cavity, heart, and testicular).
The following are some of the common symptoms that appear in patients with mesothelioma.
- Pleural mesothelioma symptoms
Pleural mesothelioma refers to cancer incidence in the lungs. It is one of the most common types of mesothelioma. Mesothelioma can be challenging to treat as its aggressive spread leads to a direct diagnosis of a terminal stage or stage IV. Construction workers or other people working in close contact with asbestos can prevent or go for early detection by checking for symptoms. Since the target site of malignant mesothelioma is the lungs, the person is most likely to face respiratory symptoms. The symptoms of pleural mesothelioma may go unnoticed in their early occurrence due to the similarity with other common ailments. The symptoms include:
- A dry and raspy persistent cough
- Back pain associated with deep breathing
- Chest pain
- Painful cough
- A feeling of a lump in the chest
- Breathing difficulties
- Shortness of breath
- Fluid accumulation in the chest
2. Peritoneal mesothelioma
It is a rare type of mesothelioma targeting the abdominal cavity. Every year around 600 cases make it to the recorded cases of peritoneal mesothelioma in the US. If pleural mesothelioma accounts for 80% of cases, this type accounts for the remaining 20%. The broad range of symptoms can create confusion with other ailments as the symptoms are not complex. The symptoms are often confused gastric or other common abdominal diseases. The symptoms include:
- Abdominal bloating
- Pain or tenderness around abdomen
- Nocturnal perspiration or Night sweats
- Ascites or abdominal swelling
- Unexplained weight loss
- Digestive issues like diarrhea and constipation
- Changes in appetite (loss)
- Fatigue or lethargy
3. Pericardial mesothelioma
Its target site is the lining around the heart called the pericardium. It is not as common as other mesotheliomas, but it occurs. The symptoms associated with this type stem mainly from the thickening of the pericardium affecting the heart’s ability to pump blood. Less than 150 cases of pericardial have made it to the records to date, accounting for 1% of all diagnosed cases. It affects people in their 50s or 70s. In addition, 25% of pericardial mesothelioma patients have a history of asbestos exposure. A patient may get no symptoms in the developmental stages of this cancer. Still, later stages have some signs that can point towards its presence. The symptoms of the pericardial mesothelioma are:
- Dyspnea or difficulty in breathing even in resting position
- Arrhythmia or irregular heart rhythms and palpitations
- Heart murmurs
- Shortness of breath when a patient lies flat
- Night sweats
- Malaise or fatigue
4. Testicular mesothelioma
It accounts for less than 1% of mesothelioma cases and is one of the rarest forms. The cause of this cancer is unknown, unlike other varieties of mesothelioma that include asbestos as one of the reasons. Its target site is the serous membrane covering the testes known as tunica vaginalis. People with this type of mesothelioma often receive a wrong diagnosis as there is no unique set of symptoms associated with it. The most common symptom of testicular mesothelioma is a hydrocele. It is an accumulation of fluid in the scrotum. Doctors often diagnose it during or after the surgery. People with testicular cancer may develop a painless lump around their scrotum with no other symptoms.
Mesothelioma is a rare but aggressive cancer, including asbestos as one of the causes for its occurrence. Cancer does not reveal any symptoms until 20 to 25 years after asbestos exposure. Still, it bombards the body with a wide range of symptoms in the later stages. Consulting a mesothelioma specialist may speed up the symptom identification. Unfortunately, many of these symptoms mimic other common ailments leading to misdiagnosis. The general symptoms regardless of any type are fever, excessive sweating, weight loss without any changes in diet or physical activity, blood clots, and loss of appetite.