Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the mesothelium, a protective lining that covers the body’s internal organs. The most common cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. Early detection of mesothelioma is challenging because symptoms often appear at later stages when the disease is more advanced. However, some warning signs and symptoms include:
- Respiratory Issues: Difficulty breathing, chest pain, or shortness of breath are common symptoms. This may be due to fluid buildup (pleural effusion) in the chest cavity.
- Chest or Abdominal Pain: Persistent pain in the chest or abdomen, often localized and not relieved with over-the-counter medications.
- Fatigue: Unexplained tiredness or weakness that doesn’t improve with rest.
- Coughing: A persistent dry or wheezing cough that worsens over time.
- Unexplained Weight Loss: Significant and unexplained weight loss without changes in diet or exercise routine.
- Fever and Sweating: Night sweats, fever, or unexplained spikes in body temperature.
- Difficulty Swallowing: Difficulty swallowing or feeling like food gets stuck in the throat.
- Swelling or Lumps: Presence of lumps or swelling in the abdomen.
It’s important to note that these symptoms can be indicative of various other less severe conditions. However, if someone has a history of asbestos exposure and experiences any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to seek medical attention promptly for proper evaluation and diagnosis.
Asbestos exposure is the primary risk factor for mesothelioma. If you suspect exposure to asbestos due to past work environments or other sources, it’s advisable to inform your healthcare provider. Regular screenings or check-ups can be recommended for those who might have been exposed to asbestos. Early detection and intervention can significantly improve treatment outcomes.