The symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include trouble breathing, fatigue, difficulty swallowing, fluid buildup in the lungs. Peritoneal mesothelioma symptoms include nausea, loss of weight and/or appetite, anemia, and unexplained blood clots. Pericardial symptoms include an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), coughing, and chest pain.
If you start experiencing these symptoms, it is important to visit a doctor right away. Early detection and diagnosis of mesothelioma is the best way to increase the chances of long-term survival, and treatments are often more effective at earlier stages of the cancer.
Mesothelioma Symptoms by Location
Most mesothelioma patients will experience different symptoms depending on where tumors first develop. As tumors begin to grow and spread, symptoms will often become more symptomatic.
In most cases, the symptoms of mesothelioma can imitate those of other diseases, making it difficult for doctors to diagnose. Since the diagnostic process can take a long time, it is critical to start that process as soon as possible, so that treatment can be started quickly.
Symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma
Pleural mesothelioma is the most widespread form of the disease, affecting the linings of the lungs. As a result, symptoms typically impact the chest cavity and surrounding areas. Pleural mesothelioma is often mistaken for flu, pneumonia, or possibly lung cancer, due to the similarity of symptoms.
Pleural mesothelioma symptoms:
- Aching or pain in the chest
- Coughing that will not stop
- Buildup of fluid in the lungs (effusion)
- Sudden or unexplained weight loss
- Extreme tiredness or ongoing fatigue
- Fever and night sweating
Symptoms of Peritoneal Mesothelioma
The peritoneum lines the abdominal cavity, and tumors that form there can affect many different organs, causing a wide variety of possible symptoms. As a result, it is often misdiagnosed as another form of cancer, or systemic problems related to the gastrointestinal system.
Peritoneal mesothelioma symptoms:
- Swelling and/or pain in the abdomen
- Unexpected/unexplained weight loss
- Obstruction of the bowels
- Buildup of fluid around the abdomen (ascites)
- Anorexia or a loss of appetite
- Iron deficiency/anemia (most common in women)
Symptoms of Pericardial Mesothelioma
Only a handful of mesothelioma cases affect the pericardium (lining of the heart), and more often than not the cancer is not discovered until after death, due to misdiagnosis or a sudden onset of symptoms after they are too late to treat.
Pericardial mesothelioma symptoms:
- Heart murmur, irregular heartbeat, or palpitations
- Buildup of fluid around the heart (effusion)
- Extreme shortness of breath (dyspnea)
- Tightness or pain in the chest
- Fever and night sweats
Get Mesothelioma Symptoms Checked Out
Never try to manage mesothelioma symptoms on your own, or ignore them hoping they will go away. Because mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer, once symptoms start to show, it can be a very short time before the disease begins to spread and the opportunity for effective treatment narrows.