Although pleural mesothelioma and other forms of the deadly disease have grown increasingly common in Madison County and throughout the country, they are still largely misunderstood and, unfortunately, misdiagnosed. This is largely due to the symptoms of the disease and their similarity to symptoms of similar but much less harmful ailments.
Every year, about 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, which is the most common form of the disease. Pleural mesothelioma affects the pleura, which is a sac that surrounds the lungs and contains the mesothelium membrane. The disease is caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers, which then become imbedded in the pleura or mesothelium and cause inflammation.
Like most other asbestos-related illnesses, many years usually pass between the exposure to asbestos and the mesothelioma diagnosis. Because of that lengthy window of time, reaching a proper diagnosis can be difficult.
In addition, the early symptoms of pleural mesothelioma are often very similar to those associated with other, more common ailments, such as pneumonia. By the time later symptoms such as coughing, difficulty breathing and chest pain present, the disease is usually fairly advanced, and treatment is more difficult.
Therefore, it is important to be aware of some of the symptoms that can show up as the disease progresses. These include coughing or spitting up blood, fluid buildups in the pleural area of the lungs, weight loss and fatigue. If you or your doctor notice any of these symptoms, you may want to be tested for mesothelioma. Although there is no cure for the disease, early diagnosis can mean less pain and suffering and additional time to seek legal recourse against the companies or individuals responsible for your asbestos exposure.
Source: East County Magazine, “Pleural mesothelioma symptoms: early diagnosis is key,” Faith Franz, Nov. 22, 2012