Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops in that outer lining of some organs of the body, mainly linked to exposure to asbestos, a group of minerals made of microscopic fibres that used to be widely used in construction. These tiny fibres can easily get in the lungs, where they get stuck, damaging the lungs over time. in 1999 the use of asbestos was completely banned. To date, therefore, the risk of exposure is much lower, but unfortunately asbestos-containing materials are still found in many older buildings.
It primarily affects the lining of the lungs (pleural mesothelioma), but it can also sometimes affect the lining of the belly (peritoneal mesothelioma), heart, or testicles. The treatments used so far offer help in symptom control but, unfortunately, it is very difficult to cure mesothelioma permanently.
Symptoms of mesothelioma
The symptoms of mesothelioma tend to develop gradually over time. They typically don’t appear until several decades (more than 20 yers) after exposure to asbestos.
Common symptoms of mesothelioma in the lungs are: chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue (extreme tiredness), fever and sweating (particularly during the night), persistent cough, loss of appetite and/or incomprehensible weight loss, swollen fingertips. Symptoms of abdominal mesothelioma include: abdomen/belly pain or swelling; feeling or being sick; loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss; ascites (excess fluid around the abdomen); diarrhea or constipation.
About 70% of mesothelioma patients develop fluid around the lungs or abdomen. About a third of patients experienced a chronic cough or unexplained weight loss months before being diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma.
So, If you detect any of these symptoms and you have a history of asbestos exposure, consult a specialist as soon as possible. Moreover, refer them about any exposure to asbestos you may have had in the past. It may not be mesothelioma, but if it is, early detection offers the best chance of treating the disease effectively.