Advancement of mesothelioma

Mesothelioma may take years or decades to develop after asbestos exposure, which can complicate diagnosis. Asbestos workers should be aware of their lung health and seek treatments for lung and chest symptoms. The most common form of mesothelioma affects the pleura, the protective lining that surrounds the lungs. When microscopic asbestos fibers are inhaled, they can become lodged in the respiratory tract and eventually work their way into the pleura. This delicate tissue may scar due to the damage, and damaged cells may become cancerous. Other types of mesothelioma affect the lining of the heart and the lining of the abdomen, but these are even rarer.

Once the pleura is damaged, the patient will begin to have difficulty breathing due to the stiffness of the delicate membrane. The lungs will not be able to fully expand and contract without irritating the lungs, causing pain and difficulty drawing full breaths. The body reacts to this irritation by accumulating fluid around the damaged areas, causing pressure on the lungs and further limiting the lungs ability to expand.

Early symptoms of mesothelioma include chest pain, shortness of breath, dry cough, painful breathing, and fever. As the cancer progresses, the patient may start to feel lumps under the tissue of the chest, develop a wheezing cough, cough up blood, experience weight loss, and feel fatigued. Unfortunately, many of these symptoms are similar to more common illnesses and may be left unattended. If there is known asbestos exposure, it is best to see your doctor.