Websites, articles and doctors often discuss the symptoms of mesothelioma in the context of diagnoses. After all, most victims don’t catch their mesothelioma until the later stages, mainly because the symptoms often resemble those of far more common ailments.
However, the fact is that once your symptoms help guide doctors to a diagnosis, you still have to live with them. Here, it’s important to remember that the symptoms of mesothelioma can vary between the different types of disease. It’s also vital to remember there are ways to treat these symptoms and reduce your suffering.
13 common mesothelioma symptoms
Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that forms within the mesothelium. This thin membrane surrounds the lungs, abdomen, heart and testicles. The most common forms of mesothelioma take root around the lungs, abdomen and heart. Due to their locations, these forms of mesothelioma typically result in different symptoms. Still, other symptoms are common to most or all forms of mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma around the lungs is called pleural mesothelioma. Its symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- Troubled breathing
- Swelling of the face and arms
Mesothelioma in the abdomen is called peritoneal mesothelioma. Its symptoms include:
- Abdominal pains and swelling
Mesothelioma around the heart is called pericardial mesothelioma. Its symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- Irregular heartbeats
- Troubled breathing
- Heart murmurs
Additionally, the American Cancer Society lists several symptoms common to most forms of mesothelioma. These include:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Lost appetite
Again, most of these symptoms are signs of many conditions far more common than mesothelioma. If you experience any of these symptoms, you want to ensure your doctor knows about any possible history of asbestos exposure.
3 forms of coping
Mesothelioma treatments often aim at several goals. If possible, your treatment team will try to rid your body of the cancer. Even if that is not possible, your treatment may buy you more time and improve your quality of life. Among other things, that often means reducing the severity of your symptoms.
However, there’s more to your treatment and coping than simply reducing your physical symptoms. Mesothelioma victims often struggle to process their situations, and your diagnosis will almost certainly lead to many changes. This means that you may need help coping with physical pains, emotional pains and practical challenges.
1: Coping with physical pains
Your treatment team will help you find the best way to cope with your physical symptoms. Surgery is often a good way to remove the cancer or relieve pressure on your lungs or chest. However, surgery is not always an option. Chemotherapy often plays at least a role in the treatment plan, and your team will want you to report on your symptoms throughout your treatment.
2: Coping with emotional pains
It’s common for mesothelioma victims to experience grief, confusion, anger and depression. While it’s important to acknowledge that your feelings are valid, many people benefit from the support of those around them. Of course, this often means spending time with family and friends. It can also mean reaching out to others going through the same challenges. As the American Society of Clinical Oncology notes, the support your friends, family and others offer may help you deal with the stress of your situation.
3: Coping with practical challenges
Mesothelioma victims often need help dealing with their daily chores, finances and their treatment. They typically face a new set of demands that can be tough for anyone. However, they find themselves saddled by these new demands when their bodies are weakest and their chemotherapy makes it hard to remember things or think straight. At the same time, their treatments are expensive. Accordingly, most victims are thankful for the help they receive from their family and the attorneys who can help them find compensation for their struggles.
Help is available
Mesothelioma victims often feel isolated and confused when they receive their diagnoses. But the truth is you’re not alone. You have to cope with your treatment, and that’s hard. Still, there are people willing to help, and there are resources that can ease your suffering.
Help is available. You can start your path forward by reaching out to your physician and an attorney familiar with the different mesothelioma resources.