What are the symptoms of mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma often takes many years to develop, and symptoms may not appear until the cancer is in its advanced stages.
The most common symptom of mesothelioma is a persistent cough, but other symptoms may include:
• Shortness of breath
• Pain or discomfort in the chest
• Difficulty swallowing
• Hoarseness or change in voice
• Weight loss
What really is mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops in the cells that line your lungs, abdomen, or heart.
Exposure to asbestos is the primary cause of mesothelioma. It can take 10-50 years after exposure for symptoms to develop.
Treatment options are limited and the prognosis is poor, with most people dying within 12 months of diagnosis.
How is mesothelioma diagnosed?
If you have symptoms that might be caused by mesothelioma, your doctor will order one or more tests to look for cancer.
Tests that may be used to diagnose mesothelioma include:
• Physical exam
• Chest X-ray
• Computed tomography (CT) scan
• Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
• Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
How is mesothelioma treated?
Treatment options for mesothelioma include:
• Radiation therapy
Surgery is the most common treatment for mesothelioma. It may be used to remove as much of the cancer as possible.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams to kill cancer cells. It may be used alone or with surgery or chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. It may be used alone or with surgery or radiation therapy.
What is the prognosis for people with mesothelioma?
The prognosis for people with mesothelioma is poor. Most people die within 12 months of diagnosis.
However, some people live much longer, and a few even cure their cancer. The chance of curing mesothelioma is better if it is diagnosed early and treated with surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.