Health is wealth - this saying is so true. But many times, we find that we tend to take our health for granted and pay a heavy price in the long run. Knowing how many grave problems asbestos can cause itself is enough to ensure that we take possible preventative measures.
Mesothelioma is a cancerous condition wherein the serous membrane is affected. Mesothelium engulfs the main body organs. It is caused due to inhalation of asbestos fibers. One may not even be aware that he or she is suffering from this health condition, till detected. The disease takes twenty to thirty years till the person actually comes to know about it. Some of the symptoms of mesothelioma cancer are very similar to the normal symptoms of other health condition. Moreover, diagnosing the disease in the early stages is not quite possible as the symptoms resemble any other normal health condition.
Some of the common problems people suffering from Mesothelioma face are difficulty in breathing due to accumulation of phlegm in the chest well. This is referred to as pleural effusion. As the fluid clogs the walls of the chest, the lung capacity to expand is reduced and this is the reason why people experience breathing problems.
Other problems faced by people suffering from Mesothelioma cancer are fatigue, loss of appetite or not hunger pangs absolutely. Weight loss is observed in many patients. Atrophy is another significant symptom. The walls of the abdominal cavity are filled with fluids which make digestion difficult for the patient. There is swelling and severe pain in the abdomen because of the tumor growth in the abdominal cavity. Patients become anaemic as the heart has to put in extra effort for releasing oxygen. The tumor cell results in continuous fever and fatigue. The commonest of problems are lung related problems like lung collapse. Blood clots in veins are observed in the last stages of this cancer. Bleeding of other organs and body parts is also observed. In this condition, "bilirubin" gets accumulated and further aggravates the situation and the individual attracts jaundice.
If an individual experiences any of the symptoms mentioned above, then they need to get in touch with the physician immediately. The disease develops stage by stage. In all there are four stages. The first stage is the forming of a tumor in the lungs lining. The tumour gradually spreads to the chest cavity and heart. It begins to affect the abdominal activity and digestive system. The last and final stage is when the tumor has progressed so rapidly that all the organs are affected.
Doctors advise a CT scan to be done so as to diagnose the problem perfectly. Mesothelioma can be highly distressing as the symptoms are very much alike the other health conditions. Thoracoscopy is another treatment option wherein the physician takes the tissue samples and observes them under the microscope.
A patient with mesothelioma typically demonstrates symptoms between 20 and 50 years after initial exposure to asbestos. The cancer can take decades to develop and symptoms do not arise until after the cancer is present. Many patients are unaware of the severity of their condition because mesothelioma symptoms often resemble those of less serious illnesses.
If you have a history of asbestos exposure, the primary cause of mesothelioma, it is best to seek immediate medical advice. Informing your doctor of previous asbestos exposure may alert them to the possibility of an asbestos-related disease. An early diagnosis can significantly impact a patient's mesothelioma life expectancy.
Early Symptoms of MesotheliomaMesothelioma symptoms rarely arise at an early stage, which is why the disease is commonly diagnosed at a late stage of development. In the interest of early detection, those who were exposed to asbestos but have not yet exhibited symptoms should undergo regular chest X-rays or pulmonary function tests to monitor any signs of asbestos inhalation.
When a doctor informs a patient of a mesothelioma diagnosis, patients and their loved ones may become very confused since the cancer is relatively unknown. Asbestos.com provides a complimentary packet with comprehensive information about mesothelioma symptoms and next-step guidance following a diagnosis.
Pleural Mesothelioma SymptomsPleural mesothelioma is the most common form of the cancer, comprising approximately two-thirds of all mesothelioma cases. Known symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include:
- Persistent dry or raspy cough (typically non-productive, meaning there is little or no phlegm)
- Coughing up blood (hemoptysis)
- Difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia)
- Night sweats or fever
- Unexplained weight loss of 10 percent or more
- Persistent pain in the chest or rib area, or painful breathing
- Shortness of breath (dyspnea) that occurs even when at rest
- The appearance of lumps under the skin on the chest
Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma occur as a result of thickening of the pleural membrane. This is caused by the rapid production of cancerous cells, which can lead to the buildup of fluid between membrane layers. Tissue thickening and fluid buildup place added pressure on the lungs, leading to reduced respiratory function.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma SymptomsPeritoneal mesothelioma accounts for approximately 25 to 30 percent of mesothelioma diagnoses. Symptoms of this type may include:
- Night sweats or fever
- Unexplained weight loss
- Swelling or pain in the abdomen
- Diarrhea or constipation (in general, any change in bowel habits or regularity)
- Nausea or vomiting
- The appearance of lumps under the skin on the abdomen
Symptoms are caused by the thickening of the peritoneal membrane and the resulting buildup of fluid between membrane layers. These changes in membrane composition place pressure on the abdominal region and organs, causing a patient to demonstrate symptoms of the cancer.
Pericardial Mesothelioma SymptomsPericardial mesothelioma accounts for less than 5 percent of all mesothelioma cases. Symptoms are caused by thickening of the pericardial membrane and fluid buildup. Symptoms of this form of mesothelioma are known to include:
- Heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing, even when resting (dyspnea)
- Fever or night sweats
- Generalized fatigue
Pericardial mesothelioma is so rare that the recognized body of symptoms is not as well-developed as with more common types of mesothelioma. It is a particularly difficult type of mesothelioma to diagnose and this correlates to a poor prognosis among pericardial mesothelioma patients.
Testicular Mesothelioma SymptomsTesticular mesothelioma is an extremely rare form of cancer, as less than 100 cases of testicular mesothelioma have been recorded in the last 60 years. With so few cases recorded, very little is known about the symptoms of this disease. The only known symptom of testicular mesothelioma is the appearance of testicular lumps and the lumps may or may not be painful.