While mesothelioma continues to lack a cure, early detection can make a difference in the lives of those suffering from the deadly disease.
Those proactive steps present challenges with countless mesothelioma victims diagnosed when tumors have already progressed. Symptoms are often disregarded as run-of-the-mill health issues that don’t require any attention.
When it comes to pleural mesothelioma, a common symptom is discomfort. Noticing these early signs and taking action can result in early detection, resulting in potentially life-saving surgery.
More specific early symptoms include:
- A buildup of fluid around the lungs, also known as pleural effusions, the first diagnostic sign of the disease. It involves a thin lining of fluid and tissue with limited space where mesothelioma forms. X-rays and CT scans can verify the presence of the disease.
- Pleural thickening is caused by scar tissue plaques from asbestos fibers forming in the pleura where asbestos fibers penetrate and create scar tissues that can result in inflammation. X-rays and CT scans can also detect it.
- Chest pain, a common affliction that often has nothing to do with mesothelioma. However, it can be a sign of pleural effusions and thickening tissue. The more tumors and fluid pockets take up space, the more the patient will feel pressure and pain in their chest. That initial type of heaviness and discomfort will motivate a vast majority of patients to reach out for medical help.
- Shortness of breath caused by tumors in the pleural cavity, seriously impacting respiratory functions. The space between the lungs and chest wall that allows both to expand and contract has no room due to the tumors. As with chest pains, breathing issues are troubling to most patients who will schedule a doctor appointment, the first step in getting treatment for what may be mesothelioma.
When mesothelioma can start with what seems to be minor issues, those unknowingly suffering from the disease may delay a visit to a health professional. That lack of action can have severe and potentially fatal consequences.