Mesothelioma is a deadly disease and anyone who has it faces a decrease in their life expectancy. Just like other cancers, as mesothelioma changes stage, the symptoms become more severe and a lot of care is needed just to keep you from having a hard time.
As of today, there isn’t any known cure for mesothelioma and it’s rare to find someone who has actually lived to tell the tale. However, you shouldn’t lose hope because as long as you discover mesothelioma in its early stages, you can take precautions and treatments to lengthen your life.
Symptoms of Mesothelioma
There are many symptoms of mesothelioma and it is often confused with symptoms of other diseases. Since this is the case, doctors always have to be sure of your diagnosis so that they can definitely say that what you are experiencing is mesothelioma and not another disease like lung cancer (which most patients get confused with).
At the same time, the symptoms of mesothelioma don’t immediately appear. For most people, it takes 20-50 years after the asbestos exposure for the symptoms to show. And even then, you cannot say that it is mesothelioma.
Nonetheless, here is a list of the common symptoms of mesothelioma depending on the type of mesothelioma you have.
Pleural mesothelioma takes place in the lungs, so naturally, the symptoms will revolve around your respiratory system. These are the symptoms:
- Difficulty in breathing or dyspnea
- Low oxygen levels or hypoxemia
- Difficult in swallowing or dysphagia
- Shortness of breath
- Fluid buildup in the lungs
- High fever or frequent chilling
Peritoneal mesothelioma takes place in the lining of your abdomen. Because the abdomen is close to your stomach, some symptoms involve stomachache and other appetite changes.
- Drastic weight loss even without dieting
- Anorexia or loss of appetite
- Fluid buildup in the abdomen or the stomach
- Low blood sugar
Pericardial mesothelioma, on the other hand, takes place in the lining of your heart. Because the heart is a very important muscle, its symptoms include changes in how the heart functions.
- Uneven or irregular heartbeat
- Frequent palpitations
- Severe or frequent chest pains
- Continuous coughing
- Shortness of breath
How Do These Symptoms Affect You?
If you would notice, all the symptoms listed above are similar to the early symptoms of other types of cancer. It starts out as a frequent pain or a discomfort in breathing or moving, and then it progresses to severe pain (i.e. chest pain).
These symptoms can be dealt with by pain relievers or medication, but as time progresses and the cancer cells start spreading to the nearby internal organs, more complications can arise like water in your lungs, or in your bloodstream.
Those people who have mesothelioma would say that it would be best to get checked early on. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a slight pain or if you think it was caused by flu or exhaustion. The best way to prevent cancer from spreading rapidly is by getting it checked and managing it the moment you realize it’s mesothelioma. Some people who have lived long enough with mesothelioma would attribute their long life to the early diagnosis of cancer.
To add to that, part of the change you will experience once you have mesothelioma is in your lifestyle. Apart from the medication and the treatment, you would have to change your diet so it’s healthier and has less salt and sugar. This lifestyle change sounds easy, but the adjustment is hard. Shying away from a lot of foods can have an effect on your mental health.
When it comes to mental health, most mesothelioma patients feel disheartened because of the fact that there is still no cure. Yes, some people undergo chemotherapy or radiation just to manage and remove the cancer cells, but not everyone is allowed to do so. Those who have mesothelioma in its later stages may not be able to do anything about it except to manage the discomfort they are feeling which is caused by the other symptoms of cancer. Still, doctors offer medication and support to improve their patients’ condition even if it just prolonging their life.
For more help regarding mesothelioma, consult this site https://www.mesotheliomahelp.org/mesothelioma/symptoms/.