Understanding the signs and symptoms of mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is rare form of cancer that attacks the lungs, abdomen and in rare cases, the heart of people who have been exposed to asbestos.

Many North Carolina residents have heard of mesothelioma as it pertains to legal cases involving asbestos. However, not many people know what this condition actually is, how it is diagnosed and what symptoms it presents. This concerning condition has many people scrambling to find out more about this unique form of lung cancer.

What is mesothelioma?

According to Medical News Today, mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer and affects the cells that line the lungs. These cells also cover the exterior portion of the body organs. There are three types of mesothelioma. These include:

  • Pericardial: This rarest form of mesothelioma affects the outer layer of the heart. People may have shortness of breath, low blood pressure, chest pain, fatigue and fluid retention in the legs.
  • Peritoneal: This form of mesothelioma attacks the lining of the abdomen and may present symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal swelling and bowel obstructions.
  • Pleural: This most common form of mesothelioma is found in the lining of the lungs. Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include cough, chest pain and shortness of breath. Some people may have trouble swallowing or suffer from exhaustion.

While some patients experience the symptoms of mesothelioma, others do not and may only discover they have the disease from an x-ray. Mesothelioma generally appears in people that have worked in an industry where they experienced asbestos exposure. Yet spouses of these workers have also been diagnosed with this form of cancer.

Treatment options

Since there is no definite cure for mesothelioma, physicians generally try to keep the patient comfortable as they progress through the disease process. According to MedicineNet.com, patients can be unique in their expression of symptoms. Yet, common symptoms include unusual weight loss, night sweats and a decreased appetite as the disease worsens. Depending on where the tumor travels, people may experience additional symptoms in the area where the tumor is growing. For example, if the mesothelioma tumors begin to travel up the larynx, the patient may begin to lose their voice.

Asbestos now, mesothelioma later

Asbestos is a heat-resistant mineral that was woven into fabrics and insulation in order to prevent fires. Surprisingly, people who were exposed to the mineral for just a few months more than 50 years ago are coming down with this malignant cancer. That is because mesothelioma has a long latency period and may not show up until up to 70 years after the initial exposure.

When to call an attorney

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and have linked the cancer to exposure of asbestos, you may want to consider calling an attorney. A lawyer in North Carolina who has a thorough knowledge about mesothelioma may be able to help you explore your legal options.

Keywords: mesothelioma, asbestos