What are the Symptoms Mesothelioma

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 What are the Symptoms Mesothelioma

(Last Update : 23 November 2020)

The first signs of mesothelioma are often vague and similar to other conditions. If you are concerned, see your general practitioner (GP). It may take some time to be diagnosed, as the symptoms may come and go, and more common conditions are likely to be investigated first. Let your GP know if you may have been exposed to asbestos in the past. Finding mesothelioma early will mean you have more treatment options. 

Note :(GP : assists you with treatment decisions and works in partnership with your specialists in providing ongoing care)

Pleural mesothelioma may cause: 

  • shortness of breath (breathlessness), which usually feels worse with activity or when you are lying down 
  • pain in the chest around the ribs or in the shoulder, which may be sharp and stabbing, made worse by breathing in deeply, or dull and persistent 
  • extra sensitive skin or change in skin sensation 
  • general symptoms such as loss of appetite with weight loss; loss of muscle bulk; loss of energy; a persistent cough or a change in coughing pattern; and night sweats. 
Peritoneal mesothelioma may cause abdominal pain; a swollen abdomen; poor appetite, nausea and vomiting; night sweats or fever; and bowel or urinary problems.

Diagnosis for Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma can be challenging to diagnose. The symptoms are often the same as those of other diseases, and mesothelioma cells can look similar to other types of cancer cells and even look like normal cells. Diagnosing mesothelioma usually starts with a visit to your GP or going to a hospital emergency room, perhaps for shortness of breath, pain or another symptom. 

The doctor will examine you and take a history of your general health. If you think you may have been exposed to asbestos in the past, it is important to let your doctor know as many doctors won’t automatically suspect mesothelioma. The doctor will send you for some initial tests and probably refer you to a specialist, usually a respiratory physician (for chest symptoms) or a gastroenterologist (for abdominal symptoms).

note: 

  • Respiratory (thoracic) physician* : diagnoses diseases of the lungs, including pleural mesothelioma, and recommends ways to treat symptoms
  • Gastroenterologist* : diagnoses and treats disorders of the digestive system, including peritoneal mesothelioma

Reference Sources:

  1. Understanding Pleural Mesothelioma  edition August 2019. © Cancer Council Australia 2019. ISBN 978 1 925651 63 8. (LINK)
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