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15 April 2010

Warning Signs of Mesothelioma Cancer

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Mesothelioma as defined by Wikipedia is, more precisely malignant mesothelioma, is a rare form of cancer that develops from the protective lining that covers many of the body’s internal organs, the mesothelium. It is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos. Its most common site is the pleura (outer lining of the lungs and internal chest wall), but it may also occur in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity), the heart, the pericardium (a sac that surrounds the heart) or tunica vaginalis.

In most cases people who have developed mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they inhaled asbestos fibers, or they have been exposed to asbestos dust and particles in other ways. Asbestos exposure can also spread to family members who come into contact with the clothing of a family member who worked with asbestos; this can put a person at risk for developing mesothelioma.

Warning Signs of Mesothelioma Cancer

Warning signs and symptoms of mesothelioma may take years to appear. In some cases warning signs may not appear for 15 to 40 years after initial exposure to asbestos, which makes it extremely difficult to obtain proper care and treatment. Some of the symptoms of mesothelioma are closely related to other common illnesses and most mesothelioma patients are often wrongly diagnosed and in turn mistreated.

Some Known Warning Signs of Pleural Mesothelioma are:

  • Coughing up blood
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Persistent dry cough with little or no phlegm
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Lumps under the skin on the chest
  • Pain in the chest area
  • Shortness of Breath even when at rest

Symptoms of Peritoneal Mesothelioma include:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Anemia
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Lumps under the skin on the chest
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Constipation
  • Night sweats
  • Persistent pain in the abdomen

Pericardial Mesothelioma Symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty breathing even when at rest
  • Fever or night sweats
  • Heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Constant fatigue

Certain Factors Affect Prognosis (chance of recovery) and Treatment Options.

According to the National Cancer Institute, U.S. National Institutes of Health, the prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options depend on the following:

  • The stage of the cancer.
  • The size of the tumor.
  • Whether the tumor can be removed completely by surgery.
  • The amount of fluid in the chest or abdomen.
  • The patient’s age and general health, including lung and heart health.
  • The type of mesothelioma cancer cells and how they look under a microscope.
  • Whether the cancer has just been diagnosed or has recurred (come back).

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