One of the most common negative consequences of asbestos exposure is a type of cancer called mesothelioma. The Mayo Clinic states that this is an often fatal form of cancer, but in some cases, there are treatments that help make patients more comfortable.
Because mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer, doctors are often unable to diagnose it before it reaches an advanced stage. Getting a diagnosis at an earlier stage may allow for some effective treatments.
Signs of peritoneal mesothelioma
Mesothelioma may occur in different places within the body. When the cancer is in the abdominal tissue, it is peritoneal mesothelioma. Some of the most common symptoms of this type of cancer include nausea and abdominal pain. A patient may also experience abdominal swelling and/or unexpected weight loss.
Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma
Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of this type of cancer. In this case, cancer affects the tissue surrounding the lungs, so many of the symptoms occur in the chest area. Some common signs of pleural mesothelioma are breathing problems, chest pain and coughing. Lumps of tissue may appear in the chest region, and the patient may experience pain when coughing.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for many cases of mesothelioma. According to the American Cancer Society, most doctors create treatment plans based on numerous factors: the extent of the disease, the existing symptoms and the patient’s preferences. In the rare circumstances that a doctor diagnoses the disease at an early stage, treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation and/or surgery may effectively remove cancer from the patient’s body. When the diagnosis occurs in the later stages of the disease, most treatments center on reducing pain and other symptoms to make the patient as comfortable as possible.