3 Subtle Signs You May Have Mesothelioma

3 Subtle Signs You May Have Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. This usually happens in the workplace. The disease can be very difficult for your doctor to diagnose. This is because the symptoms might be mild at first and tend to overlap with other conditions.

If you work at a job where you are exposed to asbestos, then it is important to recognize the early subtle mesothelioma symptoms. Then you can go to your doctor to seek a definitive diagnosis.

Your doctor might mistake the illness for COPD, pneumonia, or a bronchial infection. This is why, if you have worked around asbestos, it is important to get a second opinion from another doctor.

It is important to remember that symptoms of the illness may not appear for 20-50 years after the exposure to asbestos. Knowing the early symptoms of the illness is a first step to getting early diagnosis.

The following three subtle symptoms are early warning signs of the illness:

Chest or Abdominal Pain and Swelling

Mesothelioma most typically affects the tissue that protects the lungs. Therefore, an early sign of the illness is chest pain. This is particularly the case if the pain is felt underneath the ribcage. What can be confusing, though, is that chest pain can be the result of many different conditions.

Peritoneal mesothelioma affects tissues in the abdomen. This can manifest itself early on with pain and swelling in the abdomen. Just like with the lungs, pain in the abdomen can be the sign of many different conditions. However, pain is a sign from your body that something must be wrong.

Chronic Cough

A constant cough can also be a subtle warning sign of the illness. If the cough is paired with pain in the lungs or shortness of breath, then it is particularly important to see a doctor right away. 36 percent of patients with the illness have a chronic cough. 79 percent of them have problems with shortness of breath.


Fatigue can be another early subtle sign of mesothelioma. It is usual for a person to overlook something like fatigue. The fatigue that comes along with the illness does not resolve itself with sleep. This fatigue may also occur only occasionally.

With all of these symptoms, since they overlap with other conditions, it is important to let your doctor know that you have a history of exposure to asbestos in your workplace. That way, your doctor will know that she must look for warning signs of the illness.

Mesothelioma and Lung Cancer

One of the illnesses that may be mistaken for mesothelioma is lung cancer. The two illnesses present with a lot of the same symptoms. However, the two illnesses are completely different conditions. Lung cancer affects the inside of your lungs while mesothelioma affects the lining of the lungs.

Nowadays, although the prognosis for mesothelioma is not so good, doctors are making progress with respect to the survival rate. Treatments for mesothelioma such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are being used by themselves or in combination to achieve good results.

If you have any of the above symptoms, especially if they are accompanied by other health problems, it is always wise to have your physician check you out. The best line of defense, however, is to avoid jobs where you will be exposed to asbestos. Your chances of getting the illness without exposure are very small.