Symptoms of Mesothelioma

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Mesothelioma is an uncommon form of cancer caused by prolonged exposure to carcinogens like asbestos. The incidence of mesothelioma has increased over the past few decades, with a sharp increase in its geographic distribution. Most cases are attributed to exposure to asbestos in the workplace, although some may also be due to exposure to other compounds. Asbestos and other naturally occurring fibrous substances have been used in a wide range of products, such as ceiling tiles, fire doors, roof shingles, pipes, and insulation. Many industrial products have high levels of asbestos, such as brake linings, cement and pipeline lining, and asbestos-cement sheets used in many fireproofing products. Mesothelioma, due to exposure to asbestos, is one of the most common forms of cancer in the United States.

Symptoms of mesothelioma may include one or more of the following: Shortness of breath or pleural effusions; swelling of the abdominal region, including the presence of fluid or gas in the cavity around the heart; unexplained weight loss; pain in the chest area, ribs, or upper thighs; unexplained fatigue; cough or hoarseness, and emaciation. Because these symptoms are generally caused by normal mechanisms of pain management (such as when muscles tighten in times of stress), they do not always mean that a person is suffering from a disease. Cancerous cells present in the lung lining, chest, or abdomen can grow and spread without causing symptoms. These cells usually invade surrounding tissue, but they can also generate new tumors in nearby areas, causing further pain and discomfort.

Diagnosis of mesothelioma involves a series of different tests, performed over a period of time. These tests include a chest x-ray, an ultrasound, CT scan, blood test results, and tomography (CT or MRI) scans. Blood samples are taken from the patient’s venous system to check for infections. A pathologist will perform a biopsy of the mesothelioma to identify the type of cell that has a cancerous growth. Once the biopsy is complete, the doctor will be able to conclude the diagnosis of mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma can have several stages, each one more serious than the last. The first stage is the least severe, and it often follows an exposure to asbestos. At this point, mesothelioma symptoms become more diffuse and include no pain, vomiting, or fever. However, these symptoms do not necessarily mean that there are no cancerous cells present.

Stage two of mesothelioma is a much longer process and involves a larger number of symptoms. These symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, persistent pain in the chest area, increased risk of infection, and an increased risk of blood clots. Stage three is the end of the first stage and involves more symptoms. There is an increased risk of a spread of the cancer to other parts of the body through the lymph nodes. The body’s immune system begins to attack the cancerous cells.

The final stage of mesothelioma is the most dangerous and includes no visible signs of disease. This is because the cancer has traveled throughout the body and can travel through the entire lining of the organs. This means that any symptoms that a person has, may actually be caused by another illness. The only true way to determine if you have mesothelioma is to undergo a chest x-ray.

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