Mesothelioma Symptoms

The type of cancer that occurs in thin layer of tissues, covering the majority of internal organs (mesothelium), is known as malignant mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a deadly and aggressive form of cancer. Although a cure to end the disease has not been discovered, there are numerous treatments available to patients.

Mesothelioma Symptoms
Mesothelioma Symptoms

What are Mesothelioma Symptoms?

The type of cancer that occurs in thin layer of tissues, covering the majority of internal organs (mesothelium), is known as malignant mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a deadly and aggressive form of cancer. Although a cure to end the disease has not been discovered, there are numerous treatments available to patients.

Mesothelioma is divided into several types as it is dependent on which part of the mesothelium is affected. Pleural mesothelioma most commonly affects tissue around the lungs, also referred to as pleura, while peritoneal mesothelioma is a rarer type of mesothelioma affecting tissue in the abdomen, heart and testicles.


The signs and symptoms of mesothelioma vary according to the location of the cancer.

Pleural mesothelioma, which affects the tissue around the lungs, causes the following signs and symptoms:

  • Chest pains
  • Painful coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unexplained loss of weight
  • Unusual lumps of tissue located under the skin on your chest
Peritoneal mesothelioma

When to See a Doctor?

Peritoneal mesothelioma, which occurs in the abdomen ‘s tissue, causes the following signs and symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Nausea
  • Unexplained loss of weight

Other Forms of Mesothelioma

Due to the rarity of these diseases, signs and symptoms of other mesothelioma types may not be clear.

Pericardial mesothelioma, which affects the tissue around the heart, may cause signs and symptoms such as difficulty breathing and pain in the chest.

Mesothelioma of tunica vaginalis, which affects the tissue around the testicles, can first be detected as mass or swelling on a testicle.

When to See a Doctor

If you or a loved one have signs and symptoms that raise concerns, check with your doctor. Although each case is different, signs and symptoms of mesothelioma are not specific to this disease and are more likely to be related to other conditions due to the rareness of mesothelioma. If any signs and symptoms persist and seem bothersome or unusual, request an evaluation from a doctor. Additionally, knowledge of any asbestos exposure should be told to doctors.

When to See a Doctor
Mesothelioma Causes


Cancer generally begins when a number of changes (mutations) occur in the DNA of the cell. The DNA includes the instructions which tell a cell what to do, the mutations program the cell to increasingly grow and multiply, and the abnormal cells build up to form a tumor.

What causes the initial genetic mutations leading to mesothelioma is not clear, although the factors that could increase the risk have been identified by researchers. The interaction of many factors – such as your environment, health conditions, hereditary conditions and lifestyle choices – leads to cancer formation.

Primary Risk Factor

Risk Factors

The primary risk factor for mesothelioma is asbestos exposure.

Asbestos is a mineral that is found within the environment naturally. It has strong fibers that are resistant to heat, allowing them to be very useful in a wide variety of applications – such as brakes, flooring, insulation, shingles, and numerous other products.

When asbestos is broken up (during the mining process or asbestos insulation removal) it can create a dust. Those harmful asbestos fibers are placed in the lungs or stomach if that dust is inhaled or swallowed, causing irritation that can lead to mesothelioma. It is not yet understood as to how this happens, and it can more than 20 to 60 years for development of mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos.

Most people with exposure to asbestos do not develop mesothelioma – which indicates that there must be other factors involved in determining someone’s likelihood of inheritance. For example, you may inherit a cancer predisposition or other conditions that may increase your risk.

Factors that could increase the risk of mesothelioma:

  • Family history of mesothelioma. If your parent(s), sibling(s), or child has mesothelioma, the risk for this disease may be increased.
  • Living with someone who works with asbestos. Those exposed to asbestos can bring home the fibers on their skin and clothes. Over many years, exposure to these stray fibers can place others in contact at risk for mesothelioma. By showering and changing clothing prior to leaving work the risk of bringing home asbestos fibers can be dramatically decreased.
  • Personal history of asbestos exposure. Your risk for mesothelioma increases considerably if you have been exposed directly to asbestos fibers at home or at work.
  • Radiation therapy to the chest. You may have an increased risk for mesothelioma if you have experienced radiation therapy for cancer to the chest.
Mesothelioma Complications
Mesothelioma Complications


As pleural mesothelioma spreads through the chest, the structures in this area are pressurized. This can lead to problems, such as:

  • Accumulation of fluids within the chest, or pleural effusion, which can compress the nearby lung resulting in difficulty breathing
  • Chest pains
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Pain due to pressure on the nerves/spinal cord
Mesothelioma Prevention


Reducing your asbestos exposure can reduce your mesothelioma risk.

Determine whether you work with asbestos or in an environment with asbestos.

Most diagnosed with mesothelioma have been exposed to asbestos fibers at their place of work. Employees who may experience asbestos fibers include:

  • Asbestos miners
  • Brake mechanics
  • Demolition workers
  • Electricians
  • Home remodelers
  • Insulators
  • Pipefitters
  • Plumbers
  • Selected military personnel
  • Shipyard workers

To determine if you have risk of asbestos exposure on the job, ask your employer.

Mesothelioma Prevanction
Employers Safety Regulations
Safety Regulations

Follow Your Employers Safety Regulations

It is important to follow all safety precautions, such as wearing protective equipment, at your workplace. You may also have to shower and/or change your work clothes before leaving – whether to take a break at lunch or when going home. Talk to your doctor or another specialist about other precautions that you may take to protect against exposure to asbestos.

Stages of Pleural Mesothelioma

Pleural Mesothelioma Stages

A doctor will also determine the stage of mesothelioma as part of the diagnostic process, which determines the origin in the lining of the lungs and describes how far it has spread from that point. This information is significant to doctors when determining potential treatment availabilities. Standard treatment options are more commonly available to patients with stage 1 or stage 2 compared to patients with the later 3 and 4 stages.

The following are the pleural mesothelioma stages:


Within Stage 1, the mesothelioma tumor is generally in one location, and the cancerous cells have not dispersed to lymph nodes or other body organs and tissues. In general, surgical treatment may be an option for eliminating the cancerous growth.



Within Stage 2, the mesothelioma tumor is larger and has probably intruded on surrounding organs, such as the lung or even diaphragm. Lymph nodes could additionally be included. In this case, surgical reapportion might still be feasible, however much more difficult depending on the scope of the growth.



Within Stage 3, mesothelioma cancer has infested a region or perhaps location. Cancer has progressively spread throughout one side of the chest, within the chest wall, esophagus, and additional lymph nodes. Surgical treatment is typically not an option as curative therapy, however various other treatment options may be attempted. 


Within Stage 4, the mesothelioma has dispersed to numerous locations, such as various other organs and tissues throughout the body. Surgical treatment is no longer an alternative, and most treatments at this stage concentrate on minimizing discomfort and pain.