Early Signs of Mesothelioma & How to Identify Them
Mesothelioma is an incredibly aggressive form of cancer that can develop in various parts of the body, including the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. It is caused by asbestos exposure and currently has no cure. Unfortunately, the prognosis for this disease is often poor, particularly because its early warning signs are frequently confused with symptoms of other diseases, causing it to go untreated for years. It is important to know what these potential signs are, especially if you are aware of having been exposed to asbestos. Being able to recognize the symptoms early on will improve your overall prognosis and life expectancy.
Common Mesothelioma Symptoms
Despite the aggressive nature of this disease, it actually takes quite some time for it to develop and for its more recognizable and critical symptoms to become apparent. That is why mesothelioma is often not diagnosed until the cancer has progressed into a later stage. Additionally, based on the type of mesothelioma a patient has and the location of the tumors, the symptoms can vary greatly.
Below are some of the most common early signs of mesothelioma that are often mistaken for other conditions:
- Chest and abdominal pain and swelling: Pleural mesothelioma is one of the most common types, affecting the tissue around the lungs. An early sign of it is chest pain, which is generally felt under the ribcage. Given that chest pain is a symptom that can be attributed to a wide range of conditions and diseases, this early symptom of mesothelioma can be mistaken for other illnesses. Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the tissue in the abdomen, causing abdominal pain and swelling. As is the case with pleural mesothelioma’s early chest pains, the abdominal pain caused by peritoneal mesothelioma might also be mistaken for other conditions. If you are experiencing abdominal or chest pain, seek medical attention immediately and inform your doctor if you are aware of any past exposure to asbestos.
- Chronic cough: About 36% of mesothelioma patients develop a chronic cough and another 79% experience shortness of breath. This early symptom is a warning sign that you should not ignore, especially if you are also experiencing pain in your lungs.
- Fatigue: Fatigue is an easy symptom to overlook, particularly if you are generally overworked or tired. However, this can be an early indicator of mesothelioma. Fatigue is a common symptom that is associated with cancer and is not something one can resolve with rest.
- Dysphagia or difficulty swallowing: If you are experiencing pain when swallowing, this could be an early symptom of mesothelioma. It is also accompanied by hoarseness and reflux. This should not be ignored, so be sure to seek medical attention
- Unexplained weight loss: Experiencing unintentional weight loss is cause for concern and a symptom of many conditions, including mesothelioma. In fact, 30% of mesothelioma patients experience unexplained weight loss. Consult your doctor to determine the cause of your weight loss if you cannot think of any valid or explicable reasons for it.
- Fever and or excessive sweating: Fevers tend to be mistaken for passing conditions and generally do not cause a lot of worry or concern. However, if your fever is not accompanied by other signs of a cold, you might want to question if it is indicative of something more serious. Excessive sweating can be an early warning sign of mesothelioma.
- Pleural effusions: One of the most common early symptoms of mesothelioma is pleural effusions, essentially the build-up of excess fluid around the lungs. It is found in 90% of mesothelioma patients and is often mistaken for other illnesses such as heart failure or embolisms.
All of the above symptoms could lead to an incorrect diagnosis, so if you are experiencing any of them and believe you were exposed to asbestos, mention this to your doctor. This will allow him or her to provide a better diagnosis and more effective course of action.
Southfield Mesothelioma and Asbestos Attorneys
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with complications related to asbestos exposure, it is imperative that you act quickly and secure qualified legal representation to ensure you achieve the justice you rightfully deserve. At Fieger Law, we have a team of expert attorneys who are experienced in handling asbestos and mesothelioma cases. Founded in 1950 by Bernard Fieger and based in Southfield, Michigan, our law firm has been dedicated to fighting for the rights of the working class for decades, securing more than 165 verdicts and settlements of $1 million or more. In fact, many of our verdicts have set records and legal precedent.We will travel to visit clients and try cases across the country because we care. Contact us today at 1-800-294-6637 to get started on your case.