Mesothelioma is an aggressive and incurable cancer that is only caused by asbestos exposure. Asbestos fibers that get lodged in the body can damage surrounding tissues, resulting in painful symptoms. Understanding how mesothelioma impacts the body can help patients recognize red flags and seek care.
The most common type of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma, which infects the pleura, or the lining of the lungs and chest cavity. Because of where the tumors are located, patients are likely to experience respiratory difficulties. Early symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include persistent cough, chest pain, difficulty breathing, and wheezing. Patients may also experience back pain or side pain as tumors cause pressure in the tight space of the chest wall.
Tumors can cause pleural effusions, or a buildup of fluid in the pleura, and both the tumors and the effusions put pressure on the lungs, making it difficult for them to expand. These difficulties force the lungs to work harder to breathe, causing fatigue from lack of oxygen and weakening of the lungs. Pleural mesothelioma patients are more susceptible to respiratory infections, such as bronchitis and pneumonia, which can be devastating for a patient who is already suffering from cancer.
Mesothelioma in Other Areas
While pleural mesothelioma represents the majority of cases, mesothelioma can affect other areas, causing different symptoms. Peritoneal mesothelioma, which infects the lining of the stomach and abdomen, is the second most common type of mesothelioma. Similar to pleural mesothelioma, irritation from tumors in the peritoneum can cause effusions, putting pressure on the abdominal organs. Patients may experience pain or discomfort around the stomach, as well as vomiting or diarrhea.
Pericardial mesothelioma is a rare form of the disease that affects the sac around the heart. It can be extremely painful, with many patients experiencing severe chest pain, heart palpitations, murmurs, and irregular heartbeat. If fluid gets into the heart, it forces the heart to work harder to pump blood properly; some patients have reported feeling dizzy or lightheaded. Pericardial mesothelioma can cause fluid retention in other parts of the body, with many experiencing swelling of the legs, ankles, and feet.
There have been documented cases of mesothelioma appearing in the lining of the testes. Testicular mesothelioma accounts for less than one percent of cases, and more research is needed to fully understand this manifestation of the disease. Most testicular mesothelioma patients experience painful fluid buildup in the scrotum. Patients may also feel a mass in the scrotum, which can be mistaken for a hernia.
Other Symptoms of Mesothelioma
All forms of mesothelioma can cause chronic fatigue, as it disrupts the body’s normal functions, along with flu-like symptoms, such as fever, chills, headaches, runny nose, and a sore throat. Mesothelioma patients may experience sudden weight loss and neuropathy in their hands and feet.
One of the biggest effects of a mesothelioma diagnosis is the toll on the patient’s mental health. Though tumors can take 10 to 60+ years to develop, the disease progresses quickly once they do, causing a drastic change in a patient’s lifestyle and leaving them with a short life expectancy. Patients who are suddenly unable to work, enjoy their hobbies, or visit loved ones can experience stress, depression, and anxiety. Lost wages and high medical costs can create a financial burden for patients and their families, which also causes stress.
Philadelphia Mesothelioma Attorneys at Shein Law Provide Legal Help for Mesothelioma Patients and Their Families
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer, or another asbestos disease, consult one of our Philadelphia mesothelioma attorneys at Shein Law. We have successfully represented patients and their families in all types of mesothelioma cases. Located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve clients across Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call 877-743-4652 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.