Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the mesothelium or the thin membrane that protects some of the body’s essential organs, according to the National Institute of Cancer. While it mostly starts as tiny modules on the lining of the lungs, it can also begin in the body’s other cavities, like in the chest or abdomen.
People with mesothelioma may not immediately realize they have the disease because symptoms are the same as those of other ailments. As a result, patients may undergo treatment for another illness or may completely ignore the issue. Symptoms of mesothelioma vary with each stage of the disease, as well as with tumor location.
According to Mayo Clinic, in the early stages of mesothelioma, a patient may experience the following general symptoms:
- Pleural effusion or fluid buildup around the lungs
- Dry cough
- Chest or abdominal pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Dyspnea or shortness of breath
- Respiratory complications
Although symptoms may be similar for some mesothelioma types, other signs are unique to the location of the tumor. Pleural mesothelioma is the variation of the disease that starts in the linings of the lungs. Early symptoms of this kind of cancer are swelling of the arms and face, chest or lower back pain, hoarseness, cough, shortness of breath, and difficulty swallowing. Doctors often misdiagnose pleural mesothelioma as pneumonia, flu, lung cancer, or bronchitis.
When mesothelioma begins in the lining of the abdomen, it is called peritoneal mesothelioma. Symptoms at the start of the disease can include abdominal pain, changes in bowel movement, swelling in the stomach, fever, and fluid buildup in the abdomen. Peritoneal mesothelioma can be misdiagnosed as Crohn’s disease or IBS.
This type forms in the protective lining of the heart and can be aggressive. Patients with this type of mesothelioma may experience chest pain, difficulty breathing, heart murmurs, and irregular heartbeats at the onset of the disease. Doctors may misdiagnose pericardial mesothelioma as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or other heart ailments.
What Are the Possible Causes of Mesothelioma?
The leading cause of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure, according to the Annals of Translational Medicine. Asbestos consists up of tiny fibers that can become airborne during manufacturing processes. Unfortunately, serious health problems can develop when a person swallows or inhales the fibers, and they stay lodged in body tissues. The risk of developing mesothelioma is also present in households where a family member works with asbestos, or where the residence itself has asbestos products or materials.
There is also a probability of acquiring mesothelioma, even when asbestos exposure is not present. Other possible, but uncommon, causes of this illness include genetics, zeolites, and radiation. Certain people may have a genetic predisposition to mesothelioma, although the probability varies significantly among populations. Zeolites are minerals that are chemically linked to asbestos, and exposure to them can increase mesothelioma rates.
What Is the Latency Period of Mesothelioma Symptoms?
The latency period is the time between exposure to a toxin, carcinogen, or other disease-causing substance and the appearance of symptoms. Mesothelioma patients usually show signs 20 to 50 years after asbestos exposure. Sadly, many discover they have the disease when it is already in the advanced stages.
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How Do Mesothelioma Symptoms Help Diagnosis?
Mesothelioma can spread quickly throughout the body, so early detection is crucial in improving prognosis and extending the life expectancy of a patient. Seek immediate medical attention as soon as you observe early symptoms of the disease, primarily if you work with asbestos. A mesothelioma doctor can offer proper diagnosis and management of symptoms.
Can You Be Entitled to Compensation?
If you have prolonged exposure to asbestos and you receive a mesothelioma diagnosis, you may have the right to recover damages from parties responsible for your injury. A mesothelioma lawyer can help determine if you have a case and walk you through the process of filing a claim. The compensation you may obtain can cover your treatment costs and other expenses associated with the disease.
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You Do Not Have To Face Your Disease Alone
Mesothelioma symptoms typically appear years after asbestos exposure. Being aware of the early symptoms of mesothelioma is critical for effective care and treatment. We understand how difficult it can be to worry about legal matters when you have been diagnosed with a severe ailment, but having the means to fund your treatment is essential. Reach out to Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to discuss your case with our mesothelioma lawyer and learn more about your legal options.
A representative of our team is always available to speak with you at (800) 794-0444. Call us for your free case evaluation.