Mar 20, 2008

Signs And Symptoms Of Mesothelioma (AKA Asbestos Cancer)

There are a couple of issues that confuse, delay or make the diagnosis of mesothelioma more difficult. First, this cancer (commonly occurring from asbestos exposure) typically takes many years to develop (spanning as much as 20 to 50 years). Second, the symptoms are often similar to common respiratory complaints and illnesses like the cold or flu.

There are three types of mesothelioma (pleural, peritoneal, and pericardial). Each type has different symptoms, as follows:

The first type of mesothelioma (pleural) shows itself in symptoms ranging from breathing difficulties, trouble swallowing, a shortness of breath, a cough that is persistent and doesn't go away, rapid or severe weight loss, persistent fever, coughing up blood, or a persistent pain or tightness in the chest.

The second type of mesothelioma (peritoneal) exhibits itself in abdominal symptoms since this cancer attacks the abdominal cavity. Signs and symptoms include rapid and noticeable weight loss, abdominal pain and swelling because of fluid building up in the belly, severe constipation, bowel obstructions, weakness, fainting or anemia and persistent fever.

The third type of mesothelioma (pericardial) is the rarest form. Signs and symptoms include persistent and severe chest pain, shortness of or gasping for breath, heart palpitations or feeling like your heart is racing, a persistent cough that doesn't go away, and severe fatigue that is new to the patient.

If you suspect mesothelioma or have had exposure to asbestos, ask your doctor to perform an x-ray or ultrasound to evaluate your symptoms. Yes, the signs and symptoms overlap with over common illness but it's important for image diagnostics to rule any cancers out.

Although there is no current definitive cure for any of the types of mesothelioma, research and trials are underway and show some promise.

To learn more about the symptoms of mesothelioma, as well as developments in the treatment for, diagnosis of and compensation for people with asbestos cancer, click here to visit the mesothelioma signs and symptoms website.

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