Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that develops in the lining, or mesothelium, of the body’s organs, including the lungs, the heart, and the abdominal cavity. This form of cancer is exceedingly rare, but can have devastating consequences for those who do develop it. The prognosis for individuals who develop mesothelioma is very poor, with survival rates often averaging 18 months or less.

Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. However, the signs and symptoms of this disease may not begin to present themselves for years or even decades following the initial or even final exposure. Because of the considerable danger that this disease may pose to those who contract it, it is important to be able to recognize its signs and symptoms if you think that you or someone you know may be in danger.

The Signs and Symptoms of Mesothelioma

There are three types of mesothelioma that are especially common: pleural, peritoneal, and pericardial. The signs and symptoms that patients with mesothelioma may experience can vary significantly depending on which type they have.

Pleural:

  • Chest pain
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Coughing up fluids/blood
  • Fatigue
Peritoneal:
  • Abdominal pain/swelling
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Abdominal lumps
Pericardial:
  • Chest pain
  • Heart murmurs
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
In rare cases, mesothelioma may also develop in the testicles of those who receive significant and prolonged exposure to asbestos.
If you recognize any of these symptoms in your own daily living, and you think that you may be at risk for developing mesothelioma, you should consult with a doctor as soon as possible in order to diagnose your condition. Early detection is key to ensuring that you have the best possible chance of beating the condition, and many treatment options may not be available once the condition has progressed past certain stages.