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What Are The Symptoms Of Mesothelioma?

The symptoms of mesothelioma can be similar to symptoms associated with other diseases. Symptoms may not manifest until 15 to 40 years following initial exposure to asbestos, according to the National Cancer Institute. Classic symptoms of mesothelioma vary according to the location and severity of the disease.

  • Shortness of breath
  • Severe chest pain or pressure
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Changes in heart rhythm or palpitations
  • Blood in sputum expelled from the lungs
  • Fatigue, lethargy and weakness
  • Persistent, worsening cough associated with hoarseness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Tumor-like masses palpable through the abdomen
  • Bowel disorders
  • Drastic and sudden weight loss
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Anemia

Severe cases of mesothelioma can cause the growth of tumor masses in the pleura, pericardium or peritoneum. As the tumors expand, fluid can accumulate within body cavities. Blood clots can form in the arteries of the lungs. If a blood clot ruptures or dislodges, massive internal bleeding can damage internal organs.

Types of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a rare form of malignant cancer that develops in the protective lining that covers and protects internal organs, known as the mesothelium. Exposure to asbestos dust or fibers can cause several types of mesothelioma.

  • Pleural mesothelioma develops in the membrane surrounding the lungs and chest cavity. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of the disease, accounting for approximately two-thirds of mesothelioma cases in the United States.
  • Peritoneal mesothelioma develops in the lining of the abdominal cavity. This type of mesothelioma accounts for one-third of mesothelioma cases.
  • Pericardial mesothelioma is an extremely rare cancer that develops in the membrane surrounding the heart.

What Causes Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is known as an occupational disease. Epidemiological studies have associated workplace exposure to asbestos as the primary cause of mesothelioma. Asbestos has been widely used in the shipping, mining, manufacturing, construction and automotive industries. Firefighters, demolition workers and disaster site recovery personnel have reported asbestos-related diseases. The duration of exposure to asbestos can be as short as three months. The time from initial asbestos exposure to manifestation of symptoms of mesothelioma can range from 15 to 40 years.

What Should I Do If I Have Been Diagnosed With Mesothelioma?

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma due to an occupational exposure to asbestos, a mesothelioma and asbestos attorney can assist you with filing an occupational disease claim. You are entitled to financial compensation for the reimbursement of medical expenses, lost wages and loss of future income. You may be entitled to receive a lump sum award for lost compensation dating from the time of your initial asbestos exposure.