Late-stage mesothelioma refers to the advanced stages of this aggressive cancer that typically develop several months or years after initial exposure to asbestos. By the time mesothelioma reaches its late stage, the cancer has often spread extensively throughout the body. Symptoms at this stage can vary, but they tend to be severe and can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. Some late-stage mesothelioma symptoms include:
- Severe Chest Pain: Late-stage mesothelioma often causes intense chest pain due to the tumor’s spread in the chest cavity, affecting the lungs and surrounding tissues.
- Difficulty Breathing (Dyspnea): As the cancer progresses, it can lead to increased pressure on the lungs, making breathing difficult and causing shortness of breath even with minimal physical activity.
- Weight Loss and Loss of Appetite: Advanced mesothelioma can lead to a loss of appetite and unintended weight loss due to the body’s weakened condition and metabolic changes.
- Fatigue: Extreme tiredness and fatigue are common in late-stage mesothelioma due to the body’s weakened state as the cancer progresses.
- Fluid Build-Up (Pleural Effusion or Ascites): Late-stage mesothelioma can cause the accumulation of fluid in the chest cavity (pleural effusion) or abdomen (ascites), leading to discomfort, pain, and difficulty breathing.
- Persistent Cough: A chronic cough that worsens over time is common in late-stage mesothelioma, often accompanied by coughing up blood.
- Difficulty Swallowing (Dysphagia): Tumors that have spread may press against the esophagus, causing difficulty or pain while swallowing.
- Neurological Symptoms: If the cancer spreads to the brain or nerves, individuals may experience symptoms such as seizures, vision changes, or muscle weakness.
- Digestive Issues: Late-stage mesothelioma can cause digestive problems such as nausea, vomiting, and bowel irregularities.
It’s important to note that late-stage mesothelioma symptoms can vary from person to person. Additionally, managing symptoms and providing comfort becomes a priority in advanced stages, as the focus shifts from curing the disease to palliative care to improve the patient’s quality of life.
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms and has a history of asbestos exposure, seeking immediate medical attention is crucial for proper diagnosis and management of late-stage mesothelioma.