What is mesothelioma and how does a person get it?
Mesothelioma is devastating cancer caused by exposure to asbestos fibers. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was used in numerous products until the late 1980s. During the manufacturing process and during the use or removal of asbestos products, many of its fibers break down into fine dust particles. This matter lingers in the air and is easily inhaled by those who work with or around asbestos. This type of exposure can ultimately lead to mesothelioma.
What are the three types of mesothelioma?
There are three common forms of this disease: 1. pleural mesothelioma that affects the lining of the lungs, 2. peritoneal mesothelioma that occurs in the lining around the abdomen, and 3. pericardial mesothelioma where tumors form in a membrane around the heart. Mesothelioma is known to lie dormant for years and even decades before symptoms occur and can rapidly metastasize or spread to other areas of your body.
What are the typical symptoms of mesothelioma?
There are numerous symptoms that may occur in a person who has mesothelioma. Unfortunately, because many of these symptoms mimic other illnesses, an accurate diagnosis can be difficult. If you have ever worked at a high-risk job site and have been experiencing any of the below symptoms, it may be in your best interest to consult with a physician.
General symptoms of mesothelioma can include:
- Persistent cough
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Fluid in the lungs
- Coughing up blood
- Stomach pain
- Abdominal swelling
- Fever and sweating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Masses or lumps underneath the skin
In severe cases of mesothelioma, individuals might experience a drop in blood sugar levels, jaundice or blood clots in veins or lungs.
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