Each year around 2500 people die of Mesothelioma in the United States. If you happened to have stumbled upon this article while surfing the net, chances are you won’t be having an idea of what mesothelioma is. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is likely to affect people who work with asbestos or is in close contact with a person who is exposed to asbestos on a frequent basis. The cancer (as the name suggests) affects the mesothelium which is a protective membrane present around most vital internal organs. It primarily affects the membrane surrounding the lungs since asbestos is usually inhaled and reaches the membrane of the lungs first and then proceeds to metastasize to the rest of the body. If you know anyone who works with asbestos, you might be interested in the symptoms of this disease:
Pressure in lungs
The official term for this is pleural effusion. This is the most common symptom and is experienced by around 90% of mesothelioma patients. Here, pressure builds up in the lungs due to fluid accumulation in the membrane of the lungs causing pain in the chest. This can be diagnosed by simple tests such as an x- ray.
Abdominal enlargement and pain
Another symptom of mesothelioma (that is mainly present if it affected a membrane other than the lungs) is the inflammation of the abdomen, touching this area can result in pain (tenderness).
Dry or bloody cough
If the mesothelioma affected your lungs’ mesothelium, you may experience a recurring dry cough. You may also cough up blood. If this occurs, irrespective of suspecting mesothelioma, you should still consult your physician as it can be a symptom of various serious conditions or even another type of cancer.
If you may have acquired mesothelioma that affects the abdominal cavity, you will start to experience numerous abdominal symptoms such as bloating (or distention), hernias in the abdomen and an irrational loss of weight.
Horner’s Syndrome occurs when your nervous system has been infected. When mesothelioma occurs, it can result in nerve paralysis which can result in symptoms such as decreased sweating and your pupil, eyeball eyelids to function abnormally.
Other generic symptoms of cancer
Mesothelioma is like any other cancer and results in symptoms that all forms of cancer can cause. Such symptoms are unexplained weight loss (greater than 10 pounds) because the cancer demands all the resources and energy from your body, weakness and fatigue due to loss of blood, pain or tenderness as the cancer grows in certain areas and applies pressure on pain receptors and a weaker immune system.
There are numerous causes for cancer as seen above. It is important to note that most of the above symptoms may be due to another underlying condition that is less serious and life threatening, therefore it is always best to consult your doctor and rule it out before assuming the worst and suffering from mental stress.