What to watch for: Early signs of mesothelioma

Each year, an estimated 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma. People exposed to asbestos – such as through work – may be more likely to get the disease, even if that exposure was decades ago. Diagnoses are generally most common among older men.

So, if you have a loved one who might be at risk of developing mesothelioma, what are some early possible signs you should watch for?

Symptoms of the most common type of mesothelioma

There are a few different types of mesothelioma, but the most common is pleural mesothelioma, meaning the cancer is in the protective lining of the lung. It is possible for people to mistake early signs of the disease for something minor. Those signs include:

  • Lower back pain
  • Pain along the side of the chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hoarse throat
  • Swelling in the arms and face

Other types of mesothelioma

There are two other main types of mesothelioma. With peritoneal mesothelioma, the cancer appears in the stomach membrane. Symptoms can include weight loss, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, anemia, fluid build-up and more.

Then there is pericardial mesothelioma, affecting the membrane around the heart. Low blood pressure, breathing issues, chest pain and abnormal heart rhythm can all be symptoms of the disease.

This post is not a way to diagnose mesothelioma. If someone you know is dealing with any of these issues, it may be something else entirely.

However, if you know that person may be at higher risk of developing mesothelioma – they’re older, for example, and previously worked around asbestos – these symptoms might signal it’s a good time to see a medical professional.

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