What are the symptoms of Mesothelioma?
It can take many years after being exposed to asbestos for mesothelioma to occur. The length of time taken is referred to as the latency period and is usually between 15-45 years.
In the early stages when the mesothelioma is present as very small nodules it will not show up on any scans or x-rays and is unlikely to cause any symptoms. As it progresses pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma can both cause general symptoms such as sweating, tiredness, loss of appetite and weight loss. As the disease advances pleural mesothelioma typically causes patients to feel breathless and/or experience chest pain.
Breathlessness may be due to a combination of factors. The pleura being thickened can act like a rind around the lung restricting its movement and preventing the lung from expanding.
Pain can be quite severe as the mesothelioma can extend into the tissues surrounding the pleura including nerves and bone. A variety of medication is available to control any pain experienced. Fluid may also accumulate in the space between the two layers of the pleura occupying space and again this restricts lung expansion. A cough or altered voice is also sometimes experienced. Peritoneal mesothelioma often causes swelling and pain in the abdomen.
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