What Are the Symptoms of Mesothelioma?
- Casey Hamm
- August 14, 2019
Common symptoms for pleural mesothelioma (also called mesothelioma of the chest), include the following:
- Swelling of arms and face
- Lower back or chest pain
- Difficulty swallowing
- Hoarse voice
- Shortness of breath
Other Symptoms Might Be Mistaken for Common Ailments
The American Cancer Society cautions of groups of symptoms that may appear to be common and insignificant but could be indications of mesothelioma. If a patient misinterprets the symptoms and ignores them, it could affect their options for treatment later. These early symptoms of mesothelioma are easily confused with other health conditions. Most mesothelioma patients experience these early symptoms of the disease months before they are diagnosed, the American Cancer Society reports.
General Symptoms that May or May Not Be Symptomatic of Mesothelioma
Again, although these general symptoms generally are caused by other medical problems, you should not ignore them or disregard them as such. Especially for people who have been exposed to asbestos, it is very important to seek medical attention if you experience the below symptoms.
The general symptoms that may or may not be symptomatic of mesothelioma include:
- Blood clots
- Loss of appetite
- Excessive sweating
- Unexplained weight loss
Early Detection of Pleural Mesothelioma
Any cancer condition benefits significantly from early detection, and mesothelioma is no different. An earlier diagnosis opens the potential for more treatment options than would be available at a later diagnosis.
Although doctors do not recommend mesothelioma screening tests for individuals who are not at high risk for developing cancer, this is not the case for people who have been exposed to asbestos.
Exposure to asbestos greatly heightens a person’s risk of developing pleural mesothelioma. Many members of the medical industry recommend that such individuals undergo regular imaging tests to check for signs of cancer in the outer covering of the lungs. These imaging tests may also reveal lung cancer, which is another risk for people who have been exposed to asbestos. If you believe you exhibit symptoms of mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos, speak with a doctor right away to secure a diagnosis.
What Doctors Look for in an Imaging Test
Generally, your doctor will order specific types of imaging tests to further diagnose or check the status of mesothelioma. Using these imaging tests, doctors will:
- Get a better look at areas suspected of being cancerous
- Check to see if cancer has spread and if so, how far
- Evaluate the effectiveness of any treatment you have undergone
- Check for return of cancer after treatment
Types of Imaging Tests Used to Diagnose Mesothelioma
Doctors can choose from a variety of imaging tests, each suited for particular needs in the diagnosis and treatment of mesothelioma. Some of these imaging tests include:
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan – These images give the doctor detailed images of your soft tissues.
- Chest x-rays – A doctor might use a chest x-ray to determine if pleura is thickening or to check for fluid or calcium deposits.
- Computed tomography (CT) scan – These images present views of your body in “slices,” and they facilitate in pinpointing the exact location of any cancer, determine if it is spreading, and evaluate the effectiveness of chemotherapy.
- Echocardiogram – Using this ultrasound of your heart, the doctor can check whether your heart is functioning normally and see if any fluid has built up around it.
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scan – By introducing radioactive sugars into your body, your doctor can spot any pleural thickening and determine whether it is scar tissue or cancer. The radioactive glow can also help the doctor track any spreading.
Mesothelioma Patients May Be Eligible for Compensation
You may be able to receive compensation if you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and were exposed to asbestos. This compensation would cover your medical expenses and treatment, pain and suffering, lost income and benefits, and other damages.
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