Mesothelioma: What is it, Symptoms & How to Treat It

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Mesothelioma is a very rare form of cancer that’s caused by being exposed to asbestos. Since this type of cancer is usually found in later stages, it’s usually considered terminal, leaving very little hope of remission or a cure.

Although mesothelioma is very difficult to treat and cure, there are cases where people have survived. Take Paul Kraus for example. In 1997, he was diagnosed with this deadly cancer at the age of 52. However, he has survived mesothelioma for over 20 years now. You can read more about Paul’s journey here: https://survivingmesothelioma.com/mesothelioma/peritoneal/.

Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about mesothelioma.

Get an Early Diagnosis

When it comes to surviving mesothelioma, the most crucial factor is receiving an early diagnosis. This will allow you to start treatment before the cancer starts to metastasize. However, this isn’t the case for most people. A lot of people are not aware of asbestos and only notice it years later when they become extremely ill. To make matters worse, the symptoms of mesothelioma don’t even show themselves until years later after being exposed.

In order to get an early diagnosis, you must be aware of asbestos exposure. It’s important to be diligent if you think that you were exposed in the past. Consult your doctor and ask about regular cancer screenings and keep an eye out for symptoms.

Symptoms of Mesothelioma

The symptoms you may exhibit with mesothelioma varies on what type it is. There are four types of mesothelioma; pleural, peritoneal, pericardial and testicular.

The symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include:

  • Lower back pain
  • Chest pain
  • A persistent cough
  • Hemoptysis, which is coughing up blood
  • Dysphagia, which is having difficulty with swallowing
  • Dyspnea, which is shortness of breath
  • Pleural effusion, which is a build up of fluid around the lungs

The symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include:

  • Pain and swelling in the abdominal area
  • Obstruction of the bowels
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • A difficulty with breathing
  • A loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness

The symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma include:

  • Abnormal heartbeat
  • Heart murmurs
  • Pericardial effusion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Fevers

The symptoms of testicular mesothelioma include:

  • An excess of fluid within the scrotum
  • The epididymis becomes inflamed
  • Unexplained pain in the groin and testes
  • A mass or lump within the testicles
  • A cyst within the epididymis

Start Aggressive Treatment Immediately

Regardless of when you get your diagnosis, it’s crucial that you start treatment as soon as possible. The sooner you begin aggressive treatment, the more likely you are to survive. In fact, receiving early treatment will help slow down the growth of tumors, keep them from spreading and in rare cases, eliminate them entirely.

Your chances of surviving mesothelioma increase the more aggressive your treatment becomes. For example, people who suffer from pleural mesothelioma might have an extrapleural pneumonectomy. This special type of operation takes out an entire lung along with the pleura that surrounds it. However, not everybody is eligible to have this kind of operation performed, but it can be potentially curative.

How is mesothelioma diagnosed?

Doctors can diagnose mesothelioma through a number of methods. Of course, the type of diagnosis depends on what type of mesothelioma you have. The doctor may take an x-ray or a CT scan of your abdomen or chest to see if there are any abnormalities. As an alternative, the doctor may have you undergo a biopsy. A biopsy is a procedure that involves the removal of a small portion of tissue that’s examined in a laboratory.

Final Thoughts

While receiving a cancer diagnosis is devastating, it doesn’t need to be a death sentence. Be your own advocate and stay vigilant with your health.

Author
Andrew Ellis

InnoVision Health Media reports on health content that is supported by our editorial advisory board and content published in our group of peer reviewed medical journals.

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