Mesothelioma Symptoms

Mesothelioma can be difficult to diagnose, as early signs of the disease often mimic other conditions. By the time mesothelioma symptoms are recognized, the cancer may have spread to other parts of the body. Unfortunately, most people with mesothelioma are not diagnosed until stage III or IV.

Mesothelioma Latency Period

The latency period for mesothelioma is one of the major reasons it is so difficult to diagnose at an early stage. The latency period for mesothelioma can last anywhere from 20 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos, with one study suggesting that the mean latency for men is 47.9 years. For women, it was 53.3 years.

The latency period can be impacted by a number of factors, including:

  • Duration of Exposure: Those exposed to asbestos for a longer period of time generally have a shorter latency period.
  • Frequency and Concentration of Exposure: Continuous inhaling or ingesting of large amounts of asbestos will lead to shorter latency periods.
  • Asbestos Type: Crocidolite asbestos is the mot deadly type, and may result in a shorter latency period.
  • Age: The latency period for mesothelioma is shorter the older a person is when exposure occurs.

Risk Factors for Mesothelioma

Asbestos exposure is the major risk factor for mesothelioma. In fact, it is believed that 70 to 80% of mesothelioma diagnoses are tied to this class of toxic minerals. Other risk factors include:

  • Smoking: Smoking alone is not associated with the disease. However, the combination of smoking and asbestos exposure greatly increases the risk of certain types of cancer in the lungs.
  • Radiation Exposure
  • Zeolite exposure
  • Genetics: About 1% of people with mesothelioma have an inherited form of the disease. This is usually due to mutation or change in a gene called BAP1.

Symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma symptoms commonly associated with the pleural (lungs) form of the disease include:

  • Pain in the side of the chest or lower back
  • Build-up of fluid in the chest, called a pleural effusion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Excessive sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Trouble swallowing (feeling like food gets stuck)
  • Hoarseness
  • Swelling of the face and arms

Symptoms Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma symptoms commonly associated with the peritoneal (abdominal) form of the disease include:

  • Belly pain
  • Swelling or fluid in the abdomen
  • Unexplained
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation

Other Mesothelioma Types

Mesothelioma symptoms associated with pericardial and testicular types are often unclear. Since pericardial mesothelioma affects the lining of the heart, symptoms may mimic other cardiac conditions. They may include breathing difficulty and chest pains.

Mesothelioma of the  tunica vaginalis, which develops in the tissue surrounding the testicles, may be first detected as swelling or a mass on a testicle.

Mesothelioma Lawsuit Reviews

You may be entitled to compensation if you or a loved one developed mesothelioma following exposure to asbestos. To learn more, please call (888) 994-5118.

  1. Occup. Med. (2014) “Latent period for malignant mesothelioma of occupational origin”
  2. Thorax (2014) “Mesothelioma risk after 40 years since first exposure to asbestos: a pooled analysis”
  3. Mayo Clinic (2015) “Mesothelioma Symptoms”
Last Modified: June 27, 2016

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