There is no one “best” treatment for mesothelioma because each patient is different. However, the most common treatment for this cancer of the tissue that lines the lungs, stomach, heart, and other organs is a combination of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.
If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma or you suspect you may have it, keep reading. In this article, we’re going to go over the warning signs, how it is diagnosed, and what to do next.
Mesothelioma Warning Signs
If you’ve been exposed to asbestos, it’s important to know what the warning signs of mesothelioma are so you can recognize them and seek immediate medical treatment. The signs may include any of the following, but you don’t have to have all of the signs to be diagnosed.
Dry Cough or Wheezing
Mesothelioma can cause the lining of your lungs (also known as the pleura) to thicken, causing pleural disorders that place pressure on your lungs. In addition, mesothelioma can cause nerve damage to your pleura. Either of these conditions can cause coughing.
Like other types of tumors, mesothelioma tumors and cancer cells get their energy from the protein in your body. The larger or more tumors you have, the more of the energy they will sap from you. This can lead to fatigue, and it can also release toxins into your body.
Fluid Around the Lungs
Fluid build-up around your lungs is also known as pleural effusion. When fluid builds up around your lungs it creates pressure that can make it difficult to expand your lungs, leaving you unable to take a full, deep breath.
Night Sweats or Fever
Fever and night sweats are symptoms you may experience toward the end stages of mesothelioma, whereas in other types of cancer they can be an early warning sign. They can be caused by the spread of cancer throughout your body.
Pain in the Abdomen
If you’re experiencing abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, or abdominal distension and you suspect you may have been exposed to asbestos, be sure to tell your doctor. They may chalk your pain up to another abdominal condition and miss your mesothelioma diagnosis.
Mesothelioma can cause muscle loss and weakness. If you’re already experiencing these symptoms due to another condition, you may not associate them with mesothelioma. Again, if you’ve been exposed to asbestos, now is the time to tell your doctor about any weakness.
How Mesothelioma Is Diagnosed
There are several tools your doctor will use to diagnose mesothelioma. To see full answer with more detailed information, you can click here. If mesothelioma is suspected, your doctor may order:
- Chest x-rays
- Chest scans and imaging
- Pulmonary function tests
- Diagnostic procedures
- Blood tests
Because every case is unique, the doctor will determine which of these tests will be the most accurate to diagnose your possible mesothelioma.
What to Do if You Have Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma can take a long time to develop. In some cases, it may not develop until years or even decades after you have been exposed to asbestos. The average time it takes to develop is 20 to 50 years. If you’ve been exposed to asbestos, mesothelioma is a concern you may have for the rest of your life.
You may want to consider filing a lawsuit against any company that exposed you to asbestos. An attorney can tell you whether or not you have a case and give you specific information about your state’s statute of limitations laws.
The average settlement or award for asbestos-related mesothelioma victims is approximately $1 million to $2.4 million, and the largest verdict ever reached to date was $250 million. If you have expenses related to medical bills, travel for mesothelioma treatment, and lost income, you may be able to recover your damages