Ups and downs in health are a part of routine life. However, these are sometimes indicative of diseases like cancer that threaten one’s well-being and survival. The symptoms of cancer can be non-specific, and hence, clinically misleading. One such type of rare cancer that is hard to diagnose is mesothelioma. It is the cancer of the cell-lining surrounding the body’s organs known as mesothelial cells. Unfortunately, due to the complexity of the disease and non-specific symptoms, clinicians usually misdiagnose it with other cancers or diseases of less severity. Moreover, due to its rarity, not many oncologists are specialized in diagnosing it, making misdiagnosis quite common.
The main trigger of mesothelioma is exposure to the asbestos fiber used in industries to manufacture cement, textiles, etc. It invades the cell linings of the body organs and makes its way towards cancer development. It might even take twenty to fifty years for cancer to surface. Since many manufacturers using asbestos in their products failed to inform employees about asbestos exposure, they are legally liable to pay compensation. If that is the case for you, do not let your right slip away. Instead, approach a reliable law firm like Sokolove Law or any other law firm accessible for you. Many law firms provide a free case review to make things easier for you. Just look into their job site database to see if the company you worked at is listed there. Also, check their websites if your work-line was at high risk of asbestos exposure. Their network of attorneys will make sure you do not fight this battle alone. With the legal compensation, you can cover the expenses of your treatment and the wages that you might miss while fighting the diseases. So do not let go of this opportunity that can unload some of the burdens from your shoulders.
The symptoms of mesothelioma depend upon the site of tumor formation and can vary from person to person. Some of them are general and occur in all types of mesothelioma, while others are specific to a particular type. If you experienced asbestos exposure in the past, watch out for the following signs and symptoms.
- Early Symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma:
Pleural mesothelioma targets the lining of the lungs known as the pleural membrane. It acts as a cushion for the lungs and reduces friction between the lungs, the ribs, and the heart. This leads to the smooth contraction and relaxation of the lungs for breathing.
Pleural mesothelioma can lead to respiratory disorders, such as persistent dry cough, wheezing, shortness of breath, and fever. Fatigue also accompanies the early symptoms, where a person gets exhausted after a little physical activity. Chest pain might also occur from time to time, and these situations can lead to the loss of appetite. As is evident, these symptoms are not uncommon or alarming. They can easily be confused with flu and pneumonia. These symptoms may aggravate, such as the patient may experience pleural effusion, unexplained weight loss, and coughing up blood. Even then, oncologists can misdiagnose pleural mesothelioma with lung cancer. It is, therefore, necessary to take a second opinion regarding the diagnosis.
- Early Symptoms of Peritoneal Mesothelioma:
This type of mesothelioma affects the peritoneal lining, which covers the soft tissue of the abdomen. The early symptoms include abdominal pain, constipation, nausea and vomiting, and a loss of appetite. Anemia also occurs along with abdominal bloating. These symptoms are often associated with other digestive tract disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome, which leads to a misdiagnosis.
- Early Symptoms of Pericardial Mesothelioma:
This cancer is in the lining of the heart, called the pericardium. It is a fluid-filled sac that surrounds the heart. The sac protects and lubricates the heart, so friction does not build up. Early symptoms usually show up in the chest cavity. These include shortness of breath, chest pain, fever, and difficulty breathing (dyspnea). Heart palpitations can lead to irregularly spaced heartbeats. These symptoms arise as the pericardium thickens due to cancer, making it difficult for the heart to beat efficiently. It can be confused with coronary artery disease or some other heart-related cancers.
- Early Symptoms of Testicular Mesothelioma:
Also known as the mesothelioma of tunica vaginalis testis, this cancer develops in the lining of the testis. It is relatively rare and accounts for 1% of mesothelioma cases. The symptoms include fluid in the scrotum, swelling and pain in the testes, and a lump formation in the scrotum. In some cases, testicular mesothelioma is secondary and is associated with peritoneal mesothelioma. In this case, the symptoms are more related to the abdominal cavity. When symptoms point towards peritoneal mesothelioma, an oncologist might also test for testicular mesothelioma so that no stone is left unturned.
Testicular mesothelioma can be mistaken with an injury or other diseases of the epididymis.
- General Symptoms of Mesothelioma:
The symptoms occur more or less in all types of mesothelioma. It includes weight loss, lack of appetite, fever, fatigue, and excessive sweating. These signs can indicate any disease, but pay heed to them, especially if you previously encountered asbestos exposure. Look out for the general symptoms and note if the specific ones are present or not. Do not overlook them and seek help from a physician right away if you feel something is out of the ordinary.
One of the hurdles in diagnosing mesothelioma is its long period of latency. Many patients do not remember being exposed to asbestos as the symptoms might appear decades later. If you are aware of the health hazards posed by asbestos exposure, you should not overlook the symptoms that may look minor. While we should not panic over every minor problem inflicted on our body, we should at least pay attention to their pattern and frequency of occurrence. It would be better if you go for a regular checkup since the symptoms of mesothelioma manifest at a later stage. Early diagnosis is the key in fighting mesothelioma for prolonged life. So do not make any compromise on your health and remain vigilant to put yourself out of harm’s way.