Do I have mesothelioma?

Symptoms of disease can often be confusing, since many diseases have similar symptoms or symptoms that overlap. For example, shortness of breath can be a symptom of pneumonia, cardiac trouble, anemia, and mesothelioma, among other illnesses. Correctly discerning the pattern of symptoms and understanding their underlying cause can be tricky.

Mesothelioma tends to remain largely unrecognized and undiagnosed in its earliest stages, as its symptoms are mild. Shortness of breath, pain in the chest, fever, and a dry cough are the most common early symptoms. When discomfort becomes severe enough to cause an individual to seek a doctor’s opinion, a chest x-ray will usually be ordered, and will frequently reveal an excessive buildup of fluid between the lungs and the chest wall. The pressure on the lungs caused by this buildup, called an effusion, is the cause of the painful symptoms.

Less common signs of pleural mesothelioma are night sweats and weight loss, though these are common with abdominal mesothelioma. Bowel obstruction, swelling of the feet, bowel obstruction, and abdominal pain ranging from mild to severe are also common symptoms of abdominal mesothelioma. As with pleural mesothelioma, these symptoms often go unnoticed for long periods of time because they are possibly associated with many other illnesses as well. This is one reason that it is important to consult a physician any time you have unexplained symptoms, regardless how mild they may be.