What Are the Most Common Mesothelioma Signs & Symptoms?


The first symptoms of mesothelioma include chest or abdominal pain, bloating and shortness of breath, depending on the location of the cancer. Because early-stage signs can be slight, doctors often mistake them as normal aches and pains or symptoms of less serious illnesses.

Mesothelioma tumors begin as tiny nodules on the lining of the lungs or abdomen. The cancer doesn’t cause symptoms until the tumors have grown and spread. This is usually around cancer stage 3 and 4, when tumors begin to press against the chest wall or abdominal cavity.


Recognizing mesothelioma symptoms early in the cancer’s development is nearly impossible because the disease doesn’t produce early symptoms to identify.

 When signs of the cancer start to arise, the most common mesothelioma symptoms include: 

 Pleural mesothelioma (Stage:1)

Symptoms or signs of mesothelioma may not appear until 20 to 50 years (or more) after exposure to asbestos. Shortness of breath, cough, and pain in the chest due to an accumulation of fluid in the pleural space (pleural effusion) are often symptoms of pleural mesothelioma
Mesothelioma that affects the pleura can cause these signs and symptoms:

·         Chest wall pain
·         Pleural effusion, or fluid surrounding the lung
·         Shortness of breath
·         Fatigue or anemia
·         Wheezing, hoarseness, or a cough
·         Blood in the sputum (fluid) coughed up (hemoptysis)

In severe cases, the person may have many tumor masses. The individual may develop a pneumothorax, or collapse of the lung. The disease may metastasize, or spread to other parts of the body.

Peritoneal mesothelioma (Stage:2)


The most common symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma are abdominal swelling and pain due to ascites (a build-up of fluid in the abdominal cavity). Other features may include weight loss, fever, night sweats, poor appetite, vomiting, constipation, and umbilical hernia.  If the cancer has spread beyond the mesothelium to other parts of the body, symptoms may include pain, trouble swallowing, or swelling of the neck or face. These symptoms may be caused by mesothelioma or by other, less serious conditions.

Tumors that affect the abdominal cavity often do not cause symptoms until they are at a late stage. Symptoms include:
·         Abdominal pain
·         Ascites, or an abnormal buildup of fluid in the abdomen
·         A mass in the abdomen
·         Problems with bowel function
·         Weight loss 

Pericardial mesothelioma (Stage:3)

Pericardial mesothelioma is not well characterized, but observed cases have included cardiac symptoms, specifically constrictive pericarditis, heart failure, pulmonary embolism, and cardiac tamponed. They have also included nonspecific symptoms, including sub-sternal chest pain, orthopnoea (shortness of breath when lying flat), and cough. These symptoms are caused by the tumor encasing or infiltrating the heart. 

End stage mesothelioma (Stage:4)


In severe cases of the disease, the following signs and symptoms may be present:

·         Blood clots in the veins, which may cause thrombophlebitis
·         Disseminated intravascular coagulation, a disorder causing severe bleeding in many body organs
·         Jaundice or yellowing of the eyes and skin
·         Low blood sugar level
·         Pleural effusion
·         Pulmonary emboli, or blood clots in the arteries of the lungs
·         Severe ascites

If a mesothelioma forms metastases, these most commonly involve the liver, adrenal gland, kidney, or other lung.

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