Mesothelioma: Identify it early for your best chance of survival

Mesothelioma is a difficult diagnosis to live with. Depending on the stage you've been diagnosed with, the goal might be to begin chemotherapy or to help you cope with the symptoms and make you more comfortable.

Mesothelioma is not typically considered to be a curable form of cancer, though catching it early may give you the chance of having it surgically removed. If not caught early, mesothelioma is aggressive and can attack the lining of the heart, lungs and abdomen.

How can you recognize symptoms of mesothelioma?

Part of the reason so many people struggle with the advanced stages of mesothelioma is the difficulty of diagnosis. Symptoms mimic many other conditions, a great deal of which are not harmful at all.

Some common symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Swelling of the abdomen
  • Unusual lumps of tissue under the skin of the chest
  • Painful coughing
  • Chest pain
  • Trouble breathing

There are some rare forms of mesothelioma that you could develop, too, including mesothelioma of the pericardium (the area around the heart) and mesothelioma of tunica vaginalis, which can affect the tissues around the testicles.

Anytime you have unusual symptoms, it's time to speak with your doctor. Let them know if you've been exposed to asbestos, so they can run tests for mesothelioma and watch for signs of this rare disease. If you can identify it early enough, the likelihood of recovery and remission is much better than if you can't identify it until much later stages. Our site has more on this rare, but devastating, cancer.

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