Because of the impact mesothelioma has on the body, patients are likely to experience a number of uncomfortable and painful symptoms. If you’ve received this diagnosis, it’s likely you’ll want to have an understanding of what you’ll be dealing with—including what you’ll be experiencing physically. While symptoms of mesothelioma vary from person to person, there are some similarities among the majority of cases.
The symptoms of mesothelioma are not unique to the cancer, so it can be challenging for doctors to initially make the connection between what a patient is experiencing and what is going on inside their body. In order to understand how symptoms develop and present, let’s start by taking a look at the influencing factors.
Factoring Influencing Mesothelioma Symptoms
While the latency period and symptoms vary for each patient, doctors are able to determine why a patient may experience worse or different symptoms than someone else with the same type of cancer. This is because there are a number of factors that affect a person’s experience with the disease.
The first factor has to do with asbestos exposure. Long-term, high-level exposure to asbestos is more likely to cause symptoms to emerge sooner. This means that a diagnosis could happen on the lower end of the 10 to 50 year range. The type of asbestos also affects the cancer. For example, exposure to crocidolite, which is one of the most dangerous types of asbestos, is likely to cause symptoms faster.
In addition to the factors related to asbestos exposure, symptoms will change depending on the cancer cell type and how it spreads. With cell type, epithelioid mesothelioma typically involves symptoms that are less severe than sarcomatoid mesothelioma. As the cancer spreads to different organs, symptoms are likely to change and worsen.
General Mesothelioma Symptoms
As mesothelioma develops, it typically does so on the lining of the lungs or abdomen. According to the American Cancer Society, some of the most common symptoms include dry cough or wheezing, shortness of breath, respiratory complications, pain in the chest or abdomen, fever or night sweats, fluid around the lungs, fatigue, and muscle weakness.
As you can see, those symptoms are also associated with a number of other conditions. That is one of the reasons diagnosing mesothelioma is so challenging. If you believe you’ve been exposed to asbestos and that could be why you’re having different pain, be sure to explain that to your doctor.
It’s important to note that the stage a patient’s cancer is at plays a role in the symptoms they experience and the severity. While symptoms do overlap between the four stages, the late-stage symptoms are usually more aggressive because the cancer has metastasized to other organs and lymph nodes.
Common Symptoms by Type of Mesothelioma
The four different types of mesothelioma develop in different areas of the body. As a result, patients with different cancers experience different symptoms. Once a doctor has identified the location of the mesothelioma, they can make an accurate diagnosis and start treating any associated pain and discomfort. Let’s take a look at symptoms related to the different types of mesothelioma.
Pleural Mesothelioma Symptoms
As the most common form of this type of cancer, pleural mesothelioma develops in the lungs. As a result, symptoms tend to manifest in the chest cavity and cause respiratory problems. Common symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- Persistent dry cough
- Difficulty swallowing
- Loss of appetite
- Coughing up blood
- Blood clotting disorders
Peritoneal Mesothelioma Symptoms
Peritoneal mesothelioma develops in the abdomen, which is where most symptoms present. Because there are multiple organs in the abdominal cavity, the symptoms vary depending on the location of the tumor. Common experiences include:
- Abdominal bloating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Unexpected weight loss
- Bowel obstructions
Pericardial Mesothelioma Symptoms
As the second rarest form of this cancer, pericardial mesothelioma develops in the lining of the heart—also called the pericardium. Because of that, symptoms most often develop in the chest cavity. This type of mesothelioma is aggressive, so symptoms tend to progress quickly, including:
- Chest pain
- Heart murmur
- Heart palpitations
- Irregular heartbeat
- Pericardial effusion
Testicular Mesothelioma Symptoms
As the rarest form of this type of cancer, not much is known about testicular mesothelioma. What is known, however, is that it develops in the lining of the testes—also known as the tunica vaginalis testis. As a result, reported symptoms include:
- Fluid buildup
- Testicular pain
- Swelling around the scrotum
- Inflammation of the epididymis
- Lump or mass in the scrotum
Managing Mesothelioma Symptoms
While it can be challenging to manage the symptoms of mesothelioma, it is not impossible. Your medical team will formulate a plan of attack so you can receive necessary treatments while managing the pain and discomfort you’re experiencing.
In the early stages and for mild pain, symptoms are often treated with over-the-country nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) containing ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen, or acetaminophen. As the cancer progresses and moderate pain develops, opioid medications are often prescribed in addition to the NSAIDs. Common medications used include hydrocodone, codeine, methadone, and oxycodone.
Depending on treatment options and how far the cancer has progressed, surgery may be an option. While that can extend a person’s life in the long run, severe pain often follows operations. As a result, pain is often managed through patient-controlled analgesia. This is when the patient manages the dosage of a prescribed painkiller, which is most often done with a morphine drip. Higher doses of moderate pain relievers may also be used, like fentanyl and hydromorphone.
Contact Frost Law Firm, PC
If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it’s possible the cancer developed as a result of asbestos exposure. Depending on the factors surrounding the exposure, there could be grounds to file a claim against the person or entity responsible.
While the use of asbestos in certain industries was popular decades ago, it is heavily regulated and has been for years. This is because of the harm that the material causes to the people that inhale or digest it. When someone is diagnosed with mesothelioma and can trace the condition back to asbestos, legal recourse may be available.
The Hawaii mesothelioma lawyers at Frost Law Firm, PC are dedicated to helping cancer victims and their families handle the expenses of a diagnosis. We understand how costly it can be to treat and manage this incurable disease, which is why we’ve developed the skills and resources to pursue successful claims on behalf of our clients.
If you think you may be eligible for compensation related to your mesothelioma diagnosis, schedule a consultation with our attorneys today. We’ll review your case and provide you with honest legal advice on how best to proceed based on your unique circumstances.