Because Mesothelioma is a cancer that takes many years to develop, people who were exposed to asbestos should have regular screening in order to catch the disease while it is at a treatable stage. No matter how long ago or for how short a duration, any exposure to asbestos should be considered as a possible health hazard. People who know they were exposed to asbestos should always be on the lookout for any respiratory or lung problems and should not ignore possible signs of Mesothelioma. The sooner one is diagnosed as a Mesothelioma patient the better.
Knowing what symptoms to look for is important as well as regular examinations and a physician who knows about the asbestos exposure so that he can perform screening and tests. Being exposed to asbestos can simply be considered becoming labeled as a Mesothelioma patient, even before the cancerous cells develop.
Early Symptoms of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is often not diagnosed until it gets to a late stage due to the fact that there are practically no early symptoms. This leads to a negative prognosis and a shortened life expectancy for the patient. Early detection is a key factor when dealing with Mesothelioma. Occasionally developing Mesothelioma cells may be detected through routine chest x-rays and pulmonary function exams. Suspected Mesothelioma cells must then be excised and a biopsy performed to attain a definite diagnosis. Because of the lack of symptoms patients are often surprised when they receive a Mesothelioma diagnosis. Mesothelioma is a serious disease and does have a short life expectancy if not caught early. But there are many treatments and therapies for Mesothelioma that are helping change the death rate of this form of cancer.
Developed Mesothelioma Symptoms
Once the cancerous cells have developed and begun to grow there are many different symptoms that can occur. Initially if the physician isn’t aware of asbestos exposure a wrong diagnosis is often made because the symptoms can also be attributed to other more simple illnesses.
• Non productive dry and raspy cough that doesn’t seem to go away.
• Dysphagia or difficulty swallowing
• Night sweats and fever
• Unexplained weight loss
• Dyspnea or shortness of breath even when resting
• Hemoptysis or coughing up blood
• Diarrhea or constipation
• Nausea or vomiting
These are all common symptoms that a Mesothelioma patient may experience. The lack of a certain symptom does not rule out the possibility of Mesothelioma.
Pleural effusion is the main cause of the symptoms which alert people to the possibility of Mesothelioma. A pleural effusion is the build up of fluid between the layers of tissue that line the lungs and chest. This can be caused by many things and is associated with pneumonia but is a known indicator of Mesothelioma.
While there is no known cure for Mesothelioma there are many different treatments. As with most medical treatments at times the cure can seem worse than the disease. Whether a Mesothelioma patient is treated with radiation therapy, surgery, chemotherapy or a clinical trial treatment they face many side effects including pain, nausea, jaundice, weight and hair loss, weakness and an extensive period of recuperation. However all of this is worth it in the end when the patient beats the Mesothelioma and goes on to live a long and full life.