Symptoms of Mesothelioma


Exposure to asbestos may not result in symptoms until many years later, even up to 50 years after initial exposure. Lack of symptoms does not mean that mesothelioma is not present in your body. According to The American Cancer Society different types of mesothelioma manifest different systems. The symptoms listed below may be symptoms of mesothelioma, other serious illness, or other less-serious conditions.

Peritoneal mesothelioma attacks the lining of the abdomen and can carry symptoms of fatigue, muscle atrophy, weight loss, loss of appetite, weakness, blood clotting problems, obstructed bowels, fever and anemia. Ascites, which is accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity, can cause the abdomen to swell painfully, is also a symptom of mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma’s most commonly attacks the pleura, the lining of the lungs and chest wall. Symptoms of this type of mesothelioma can include: fatigue, anemia, pain in the chest wall, build-up of fluid around the lungs, shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, hoarseness, blood in the mouth or saliva and coughing up blood (hemoptysis).

In advanced cases, collapsed lung (pneumothorax) may occur. If the mesothelioma metastizes, or spreads to other areas of the body, additional symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, swollen neck and face and increased pain may occur.

In severe cases of mesothelioma, the sufferer may have numerous tumors. Tumors in the abdominal cavity may be symptomless until they become late-stage. Tumors of the pleura are usually present in only one lung. Symptoms of late-stage mesothelioma related tumors are: abdominal pain, bowel function problems, increased fluid in the abdomen (ascites), abdominal masses and weight loss.

Other symptoms of severe mesothelioma are: jaundice (yellowing of eyes or skin), low blood sugar, blood clots in the arteries of the lungs or other parts of the body, inflammation of the veins, pleural effusion (fluid between the chest wall and lung) or a conditional known as DIC (disseminated intravascular coagulation) which is abnormal blood clotting in the body which then causes the body’s organs to bleed. DIC can lead to the failure of multiple organs and then death.

While mesothelioma and its symptoms can affect multiple organs and systems, the bones, brain and adrenal glands are typically not involved and the disease does not commonly spread there.