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General Symptoms for Mesothelioma of Three Types

Oct 10, 2007
Mesothelioma is one of the trickier cancers out there. It's difficult to pinpoint when someone has it, because it doesn't like to make itself known for many years. In fact, it generally takes a few decades for someone to exhibit symptoms after they have been exposed to asbestos. Because of this long latency period, it is often far too long after a person has been infected that they find out they have the disease. By this time, the general consensus is that the cancer has done its damage, and much of it may be irreversible. Still, by knowing the symptoms that do occur, you can catch mesothelioma sooner and have a better chance at treating the disease.

When mesothelioma symptoms firs occur, it's very difficult to tie them to the cancer. They are so generalized that they can be connected to a number of more common diseases. This makes it harder, even for more experienced doctors, to be able to catch mesothelioma as it makes itself known. For example, some of the most common symptoms are a shortness of breath or chest pains. This occurs because of pleural mesothelioma, or the kind that attacks the lungs and the chest cavity. These symptoms occur because of a buildup of fluid in the lungs, and other symptoms for this type of mesothelioma includes heavy weight loss, trouble swallowing, and swelling in the face and in the neck.

The other type of mesothelioma is called peritoneal mesothelioma. This is the type that affects the abdominal cavity, and it is much more rare than the kind that was previously mentioned. Those who suffer from this form of the cancer exhibit symptoms that include abdominal pain and swelling, nausea, loss of appetite, and vomiting. These symptoms are a result of tumors pressing against the abdominal wall. Other symptoms that may affect those suffering from peritoneal mesothelioma are bowel obstruction, anemia, fever, and problems with blood clotting.

There is a third, extremely rare, form of mesothelioma that is called pericardial mesothelioma. This actually starts in the area surrounding the heart, and it can spread from there into the chest or other parts of the body. Chest pain, shortness of breath, and persistant coughing are common symptoms for this form, and are actually the same as for pleural mesothelioma. An X-Ray or CT will make sure which type of mesothelioma is affecting you, though.

It isn't until mesothelioma moves into the later stages of its development that the more serious and noticeable symptoms occur, and often times by that time it is too late to remove all the tumors. Therefore, you should always tell your doctor if there is any point in your life where you were exposed to asbestos. That way, proper tests can be run throughout your time with the doctor that will catch the cancer when it begins to spread. Only then will you be able to remove all the dangerous tumors or polyps from your body.

Since pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of the cancer, its symptoms are generally the ones that are attributed to the cancer as a whole. It's important to know the symptoms for all forms of mesothelioma, though, especially if you know you have been exposed to asbestos. Even if you only know someone who has been exposed, like a spouse, it's possible to have been affected by particles that got stuck in their clothes. Checkups should be done regularly, and a close eye on the few symptoms that are normally seen in mesothelioma patients should be kept in mind.

Even the more serious symptoms, such as the swelling and high fevers, aren't always immediately attributed to mesothelioma. You need to fill your doctor in on anyplace you may have been exposed to asbestos in order for him or her to know where to look for problems. This is an imperative part to catching mesothelioma in its early stages, when it can still be taken care of in a hospital.

So, if you know that you have been exposed to mesothelioma in the past, and you are starting to show any of the symptoms listed above, let your doctor know so that you get the possibility of it being mesothelioma out of the way. It's better than waiting and finding out once the more serious symptoms arise, because then there may not be anything your doctor can do.
About the Author
Nick Johnson is lead counsel with Johnson Law Group. Johnson represents plaintiffs in many states and focuses on injury cases involving Fen-Phen and PPH, Paxil, Mesothelioma and Nursing Home Abuse. Call Nick Johnson at 1-888-311-5522 or visit http://www.johnsonlawgroup.com
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