Symptoms and signs of mesothelioma are often misdiagnosed due to their resemblance to more common conditions. Depending on the location and the stage of the disease, these include chest pain or abdominal pain, cough, shortness of breath, and buildup of fluid around organs. The symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include moderate to severe chest pain and shortness of breath. Abdominal pain and bloating are the most common symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma. These symptoms take years to develop, and therefore challenging to diagnose in early stages.
The signs and symptoms of mesothelioma can take 10-50 years to grow. Early symptoms of the disease are especially difficult to diagnose because they are mild and resemble other more common body conditions. Most doctors and health care professionals typically disregard symptoms due to their resemblance. Studies have demonstrated early warning signs of pain in the chest or abdominal and buildup of excess fluid around the organs. Fluid accumulation around the lungs is referred to as pleural effusion and around the abdomen is called a peritoneal effusion.
During later stages, tumor development leads to worsening of the signs and symptoms. Late-stage warning signs typically include discomfort, lack of appetite, sudden weight loss, and exhaustion.
Common Symptoms by Mesothelioma Type
Each type of mesothelioma tumor develops in different body areas. As a result, signs and symptoms vary across types and location. Identifying origin-specific symptoms of mesothelioma can help doctors make a definitive diagnosis. The location of symptoms is also important to determine where to conduct biopsies and imaging scans. For example, trouble breathing and chest pain may necessitate a chest X-ray and CT scan.