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Mesothelioma: What are the early symptoms and signs?

Every year, thousands of individuals are diagnosed with mesothelioma, a deadly cancer typically linked to asbestos exposure. One of the most frightening aspects of mesothelioma is that victims may not show any symptoms until decades after they first inhaled the microscopic asbestos fibers.

So, if you have ever encountered asbestos -- whether recently or many years ago -- you need to familiarize yourself with the early signs and symptoms of mesothelioma, especially since you never know when, or if, this deadly disease will rear its ugly head.

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are several possible symptoms associated with the various types of mesothelioma, including:

Pleural Mesothelioma, which occurs in the tissue surrounding the lungs:

  • Painful coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lumps under the skin on the chest
  • Pain in the chest under the rib cage
  • Rapid/unexplained weight loss

Peritoneal Mesothelioma, which occurs in the abdomen:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Lumps in the abdomen
  • Swelling in the abdominal cavity

Unfortunately, not only can it take years for mesothelioma to develop following asbestos exposure, but many of the common symptoms for this deadly cancer could just as easily be mistaken for a wide variety of other medical conditions -- meaning it can be difficult to diagnose.

In fact, many mesothelioma victims are not even diagnosed until later stages of the disease. In some cases, the mesothelioma is discovered only by chance during routine x-rays and blood tests.

The challenges surrounding mesothelioma diagnoses only further the need for asbestos victims to be extra vigilant. In fact, if you have been exposed to asbestos and believe you may have developed mesothelioma, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.

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