Unlike other illnesses, mesothelioma has a long incubation period with easy to dismiss symptoms, especially as you age. Since there can be a long time between exposure to asbestos and a mesothelioma diagnosis, it can be challenging to know which exposure caused the mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is, typically, a terminal diagnosis. Treatments have progressed significantly over the last few decades, but there is no cure for this fatal form of cancer. Still, early detection can help extend your life or the life of your loved one.
These are some of the symptoms that may be signs of mesothelioma.
Watching for Early Signs
Asbestos exposure tends to be more problematic when you are exposed to inhalable particles. When asbestos particles move into the lungs, the body has difficulty getting rid of the fibers. After repeated or prolonged exposure, asbestos fibers can make changes to the surrounding cells resulting in mesothelioma.
Since an early diagnosis can lead to a better survival rate, it is critical to know the first signs of mesothelioma so that you can move forward with treatment. Early symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
Typically, people attribute these and other mesothelioma symptoms to other less serious illnesses like colds or allergies.
Consulting a Medical Professional
Medical support is critical to treating and living with mesothelioma. In many cases, doctors will start with a physical exam and follow-up tests, such as x-rays, PET scans and MRIs, to further confirm your diagnosis.
Although mesothelioma can be a difficult diagnosis, finding out early can help you and your medical team maximize your treatment options.