In the early stages of mesothelioma, symptoms are non-specific and may mimic lung conditions of a less serious nature, such as bronchitis or pneumonia. Many individuals tend to ignore these subtle symptoms and consider them everyday ailments. In addition, the latency period for contracting this form is cancer is anywhere between fifteen and fifty years after one has been exposed to asbestos. Individuals who are diagnosed with mesothelioma may have never worked directly with asbestos, yet were employed in a field where they were exposed to asbestos with or without knowing so. There are also many cases of paraoccupational (or secondary) exposure where a loved one comes home wearing clothing that is covered in asbestos dust and thereby exposes his or her family to the toxic fibers. There are also cases of neighborhood exposure where a company allowed air contaminated with asbestos dust to escape from its premises.

Pleural mesothelioma, which affects the pleural membrane that surrounds the lungs, is the most common form of mesothelioma. Since its symptoms may mimic a less serious condition, it is best to seek immediate medical advice if you have the following symptoms:

  • Persistent dry or raspy cough with little or no phlegm
  • Coughing up blood
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Night sweats or fever
  • Persistent chest pain that occurs in the rib area
  • Shortness of breath occurring even at rest
  • Painful breathing

Peritoneal mesothelioma is a less common form of mesothelioma that affects the lining of the abdominal cavity known as the peritoneum. This form of mesothelioma can also mimic conditions of a less serious nature, such as ulcers and indigestion, so it is best to seek medical advice if the following symptoms continue or worsen:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Swelling or pain in the abdomen
  • Fatigue
  • Night sweats or fever
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea or constipation (changes in normal bowel habits for a prolonged time period)
  • Anemia

Pericardial mesothelioma is an extremely rare form of mesothelioma and accounts for about 5% of mesothelioma cases. Pericardial mesothelioma affects the pericardial membrane that lines the heart, leading to impaired cardiac function. As in the above forms of mesothelioma, pericardial mesothelioma can mimic other conditions of the heart such as congestive heart disease and heart attacks. If you have any of the below symptoms, you must seek immediate medical advice:

  • Chest pains
  • Heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat
  • Difficulty breathing, even at rest
  • Fever or night sweats

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer, or another asbestos-related disease, contact us today for a free case evaluation.