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Malignant mesothelioma is a highly aggressive and painful cancer with symptoms that vary from patient to patient and with the area of the body affected.
Mesothelioma most often occurs in the tissue surrounding the lungs (pleural mesothelioma) but can also occur in the tissue in the abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma), the tissue that surrounds the heart (pericardial mesothelioma) and the tissue surrounding the testicles (mesothelioma of tunica vaginalis). Because extending the life of a person with a mesothelioma prognosis depends in large part on early detection, it is vital that patients understand the symptoms of mesothelioma and seek medical attention as soon as they are detected. Contact your doctor right away if you experience any of the symptoms described below, especially if you were (or have reason to believe that you were) exposed to asbestos, which is the only known cause of this type of cancer.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, as well as the pain and suffering you have endured.
Pain As A Symptom
Over half of all pleural mesothelioma patients have pain in the lower, back or sides of the chest. Sufferers of peritoneal mesothelioma may also experience pain in the abdominal area. Pericardial mesothelioma patients often have chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and constant and acute coughing. Mesothelioma patient pain typically increases over time and can be acute in many cases, requiring prescription narcotics to manage. It is important that patients let their physicians know about the pain they are feeling.
Support from a medical team can lessen those symptoms by use of these medications:
- Mild pain is typically treated with over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) containing ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen or acetaminophen.
Moderate pain often involves the use of opioid medications that are sometimes used in combination with NSAIDs. Opioid products are hydrocodone, codeine, methadone or oxycodone.
- Severe pain is often experienced following surgery and is typically managed through “patient-controlled analgesia” whereby the patient can manage the dosage of the painkiller. Most often this is a morphine drip. Higher doses of the moderate pain relievers may be used or other drugs can be prescribed including fentanyl and hydromorphone.
Pleural Symptoms (Lungs)
- Pleural mesothelioma symptoms are similar to those occurring with less severe respiratory and other diseases, making diagnosis difficult.
Anyone with a history of asbestos exposure should seek immediate medical attention if they experience any of the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breat
- chest pain
- fluid buildup around the lungs (pleural effusion)
- significant and unexplained weight loss
- chronic and dry/raspy cough
- coughing up blood
- loss of appetite
- difficulty swallowing
- lumps under the skin of the chest