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Mesothelioma Signs, Symptoms and Types

At Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, there's more to cancer care than medications and therapies. As a comprehensive cancer center, we offer support and programs to help you with all aspects of your diagnosis, treatment and recovery.  

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Mesothelioma?

Early symptoms of mesothelioma are often misinterpreted as other common conditions, causing a delay in diagnosis and treatment. It also has a long latency period with the first appearance of symptoms 20 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos.

The symptoms of mesothelioma vary with each stage and location (chest, abdomen, heart) of the disease. General symptoms of mesothelioma may include:

  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Problems with blood clotting
  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Decreased appetite

Signs and Symptoms of Mesothelioma by Type

Pleural (lung) mesothelioma: Mesothelioma in the chest is the most common type representing 70% to 75% of all cases. Symptoms include: 

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Weight loss
  • Fever and fatigue
  • Cough
  • Difficulty swallowing (feeling like food gets stuck)
  • Hoarseness
  • Swelling of the face and arms

Peritoneal (abdominal) mesothelioma: Peritoneal disease accounts for 10% to 20% of mesothelioma cases. In general, the prognosis for this tumor type is better. Symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Bloating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bowel changes
  • Vomiting or nausea

Pericardial (heart) Mesothelioma: A pericardial tumor is extremely rare. Symptoms include: 

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Cough

Testicular Mesothelioma: Testicular mesothelioma is the rarest form and develops in the lining of the testes. Symptoms include: 

  • Scrotal swelling
  • Painless testicular lumps

If you have one or more of these symptoms, it doesn’t mean you have mesothelioma. However, it’s important to discuss your symptoms with your doctor as they may indicate other health problems.

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