Symptoms of mesothelioma can be ambiguous during the early stages of the illness. As with any cancer, the sooner it is diagnosed, the better chance for a prolonged survival. Treatments and combined therapies that are applied during earlier stages have been proven to have a stronger impact on the disease but, unfortunately, treatment presented at any stage is likely to occur for an extended period of time, be difficult and involve prolonged pain.
As this cancer progresses, a variety of symptoms become apparent to the patient. Early stages manifest symptoms that are commonly mistaken for cold and flu-like illnesses. As the cancer develops, symptoms can define themselves as anemia, weakness, shortness of breath, persistent coughing, pain, swelling, wheezing, hoarseness and other conditions attributed to fluid buildup around mesothelial tissue.
Victims of mesothelioma can also experience chest pains that are brought on by pleural mesothelioma. This form of the cancer damages the tissue surrounding the lungs, so it is painful for the patient to breathe. When the abdominal area is infected by peritoneal mesothelioma nausea, loss of appetite and weight loss are dominant symptoms. Pericardial mesothelioma is a form of the cancer affecting the tissue surrounding the heart. It can manifest as heart palpitations and acute chest pain.
When Symptoms of Mesothelioma Can Appear
For many victims of asbestos exposure, mesothelioma can have a long latency period from the time of initial exposure to the advancement of a cancer diagnosis. As with any cancer, early detection is the key to a longer life expectancy. A dormancy period has been documented from 25-50 years and after a dormancy period is over, it can take a patient anywhere between 2 weeks and 2 years to define critical symptoms. Because of this latency period, the average age of those being diagnosed with mesothelioma is 50-70 years old.
Some people may question if their symptoms of mesothelioma can be connected with asbestos exposure. If you are experiencing any classical mesothelioma symptoms you should always consult with a trained medical profession to receive a clear diagnosis and mesothelioma prognosis. A doctor will take into account your work history and know if your profession may have led to asbestos exposure. They will take a closer look at your symptoms, listen to your lungs and determine is your abdomen is swollen.
When your doctor believes they can connect your symptoms of mesothelioma to a diagnosis, they will order other, more comprehensive examinations such as CT scans or a cytology that will give a definite result of mesothelioma or other asbestos-related illness.
Once you are sure of a diagnosis, you should contact a mesothelioma attorney to assess your possible legal rights to compensation for your exposure to asbestos.