Signs and Symptoms
Because of the long period of time that can go by between the time of the exposure to asbestos and the actual diagnosis of mesothelioma, it can be difficult to make both diagnosis and effective treatment. Symptoms of mesothelioma may not appear until 30 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos. This makes it difficult for the physicians to make a conclusive diagnosis with mesothelioma patients. Quite often, the symptoms are confused with pneumonia during its early stage and may include shortness of breath and pain in the chest due to an accumulation of fluid in the pleural space are often symptoms of pleural mesothelioma.
Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include weight loss and cachexia, abdominal swelling and pain due to ascites (a buildup of fluid in the abdominal cavity). Other symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma may include bowel obstruction, blood clotting abnormalities, anemia, and fever. If the cancer has spread beyond the mesothelium to other parts of the body, symptoms may include pain, trouble swallowing, or swelling of the neck or face. These symptoms may be caused by mesothelioma or by other, less serious conditions.
Questions to ask your doctor
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, most certainly you will be going back for another visit. When you are with your doctor, there are many questions that you will want to ask your doctor. We have prepared a few questions to help you prepare for life with mesothelioma, and help you move forward with your life. You should have an open discussion with your doctor and learn as much as you can about mesothelioma.
- What type of mesothelioma do I have?
- Has the cancer spread?
- What is my options for treatment? What should I do to be ready for treatments?
- What does it mean to me when the stages of the cancer changes?
- What treatment option would you recommend and why? What are the risks?
- What is my prognosis?
- What are my chance of survival?
- (And more questions of your own)
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