Malignant Mesothelioma Symptoms & Treatment [2024 Updated]

Mesothelioma develops in the lining of organs, including the lungs, abdominal organs, heart, and testicles. Malignant mesothelioma means that the tumor is cancerous, and this is typical of most diagnoses. It is an aggressive cancer with an unfortunately low life expectancy. It’s important to be aware of malignant mesothelioma symptoms & treatment, as this can aid in early detection and allow you to be aware of the options when you are diagnosed.

What Causes Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is largely caused by exposure to asbestos. Breathing in or ingesting asbestos fibers increases a person’s risk of several diseases and cancers, including mesothelioma. Long-term repeated and/or severe exposure to asbestos increases this risk further. Exposure to talc, talcum powder, and materials in buildings or ships that use asbestos can all lead to asbestos exposure.

Employees and military members are at a higher risk due to the past use of asbestos in factories, military bases, construction sites, and other worksites. Consumers of certain products may also be exposed, such as asbestos-contaminated talc in cosmetics and body powder.

It can take between 20 and 60 years for mesothelioma to develop. Diagnosing the disease in its early stages is crucial to the patient’s prognosis.

Symptoms of Mesothelioma

There are several types of mesothelioma, depending on where the tumor is located or begins. When mesothelioma begins and develops in the lungs, patients are more likely to suffer difficulty breathing and chest pain. When mesothelioma is located in the abdominal cavity, patients are likely to experience abdominal pain and nausea.

It is unfortunately common for mesothelioma to be misdiagnosed as other conditions. If you are suffering from these symptoms and have had asbestos exposure in the past, it is important to tell your medical provider about that. The symptoms commonly found across multiple types of mesothelioma include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Rib cage pain and abdominal pain
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Abdominal lumps
  • Muscle weakness
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Constipation
  • Blood clots
  • Fever, sweating, and night sweats
  • Fluid buildup

Patients who develop anemia, fevers, night sweats, blood clots, and painful swelling suffer from some of the rarer but more serious symptoms.

Each form of mesothelioma also has unique symptoms.

Pleural Mesothelioma

This is the most common form of mesothelioma, and it is found in the lining of the lungs. Even though it is the most common, mesothelioma itself is still rare, and many providers do not recognize its symptoms.

Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include chest pain, shortness of breath, chest lumps, difficulty swallowing, coughing, hoarseness, lower back pain, muscle weakness, fluid in the lungs, and swelling in the face and arms. These symptoms can frequently be mistaken for other diseases.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma

This form of mesothelioma is found in the abdominal cavity and abdomen organs. Common symptoms include abdominal pain, anemia, and weakness, fluid buildup in the abdominal cavity, constipation, diarrhea, small intestine blockage, weight loss, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain and swelling.

Pericardial Mesothelioma

This form of mesothelioma primarily affects the heart and lungs. It is one of the rarest types of mesothelioma. Symptoms include low blood pressure, chest pain, heart murmurs, abnormal heart rhythm and palpitations, difficulty breathing, coughing, fatigue, and shortness of breath when lying down. Many other heart-related conditions may be diagnosed when a patient is suffering from pericardial mesothelioma.

Testicular Mesothelioma

This is the rarest type of mesothelioma, and it is found in the testes. Symptoms include testes inflammation, testes lumps, hydrocele or fluid in the scrotum, spermatocele, inguinal hernia, and testicular pain. Because this form of mesothelioma is so rare, it is hard to diagnose and treat.

Treatments for Mesothelioma

The treatments available for mesothelioma depend on many factors, including the type of mesothelioma, the cell type, and how far the cancer has progressed. Treatments for mesothelioma typically include:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Gene therapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Targeted therapy
  • Palliative treatment
  • Multimodal treatment
  • Clinical trials

The treatment used will also depend on a patient’s wishes for their short- and long-term care, along with what their priorities are. This is a very personal decision that should be talked over with your medical provider.


Q: Is Malignant Mesothelioma Treatable?

A: Yes, there are treatments for malignant mesothelioma, but there is not currently a cure. Most malignant mesothelioma diagnoses occur in the late stage, and the tumor is too advanced to be operated on.

Treatments can help diagnosed patients extend their prognosis and manage their symptoms and pain. What treatments are available depends on the location of the cancer, how progressed it is, and the patient’s general health. Treatments include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, immunotherapy, and several other options.

Q: What Is the Difference Between Mesothelioma and Malignant Mesothelioma?

A: Malignant mesothelioma means that the cancer is active, as opposed to benign mesothelioma, which is inactive. The majority of mesothelioma diagnoses are malignant. Benign mesothelioma is typically operable and can be removed, and it may have certain additional treatments.

Malignant mesothelioma can spread quickly and is often not caught in the early stages, which affects the number of effective treatments available. A small number of patients have operable malignant mesothelioma, and this relies on what stage the cancer is diagnosed at.

Q: What Are the Signs That Mesothelioma Is Getting Worse?

A: Mesothelioma has increased and worsened symptoms as it progresses into later stages. Late-stage symptoms of mesothelioma include:

  • Increased, severe, or repeated pain
  • Greater weakness, anemia, and fatigue
  • Additional unexpected weight loss and loss of appetite
  • Fevers and night sweats
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Respiratory complications

When mesothelioma has progressed to later stages, treatment options are more limited. It’s important to be familiar with the early stages of the disease, particularly if you have been exposed to asbestos in your life. That way, you may be able to get treatment earlier.

Q: Is Mesothelioma an Aggressive Cancer?

A: Yes, mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer. It is a type of cancer that forms in the lining of internal organs, including the lungs, abdomen, heart, and testicles. Mesothelioma in the lungs, called pleural mesothelioma, is the most common form.

Although there are treatments, there is no cure, and a mesothelioma diagnosis is considered fatal. Those who are diagnosed may have between six months and two to six years, but some may have as many as ten years. Treatments can provide patients with options to increase their life expectancy, manage pain and symptoms, and provide comfort for the end of their life.

Obtaining Compensation for Mesothelioma Treatment

At Wallace & Graham, P.A., we have decades of experience representing and working with clients who are diagnosed with mesothelioma. Contact us today to learn how we can aid you in securing compensation.