What are the Symptoms?
For Pleural (lungs), Peritoneal (abdomen) and Pericardial (heart) Mesothelioma, symptoms vary and are often confused with more common illnesses (e.g. the flu). Some common typical symptoms are included in the chart below.
For Testicular Mesothelioma common symptoms include testicular pain, lumps and swelling.
|SYMPTOMS||Pleural (lungs)||Peritoneal (abdomen)||Pericardial (heart)|
|Abdominal Swelling or Tenderness||√||√|
|Loss of Appetite||√||√||√|
|Constipation or Diarrhea||√|
|Coughing up Blood||√|
|Feeling of Fullness||√|
|Lumps Under Abdominal Skin||√||√|
|Lumps Under Skin of the Chest||√||√|
|Pressure on the Heart||√|
|Reduced Chest Expansion||√|
|Shortness of Breath||√||√||√|
How is it Treated?
Generally, Mesothelioma treatment options will depend on factors such as age, health, and the location, type and progression of the tumor. Mesothelioma cancer, like many other cancers, is often treated with a combination of one or more of the following treatments: chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery and or experimental clinical trials.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy, which is administered through oral or IV-based medications, is the most widely used treatment used to kill, shrink and limit the growth of tumor cells in the body. Chemotherapy is often used on it’s own, but it commonly used to increase the effectiveness of radiation therapy or surgery.
- Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy, which uses radiation to target cancer cells, is a widely used treatment used to kill and shrink tumor cells. Advanced radiation treatments like IMRT (Intensity Modulated RadioTherapy) target cancer cells even more precisely, helping to increase the effectiveness of radiation.
- Surgery: Surgical procedures can reduce or remove tumors. A number of factors determine if patients are good candidates for surgery. Factors may include the patient’s health, tumor location, stage of the cancer, etc. Approximately 20 percent of Pleural (lung) Mesothelioma patients are good candidates for surgery.
- Experimental Clinical Trials: Experimental untested treatment therapies are conducted by and evaluated by researchers. Patients generally must apply for clinical trials. A number of factors determine if patients are good candidates for and accepted in clinical studies.
How is it Diagnosed?
Mesothelioma is very difficult to diagnose, and in many cases it may already have progressed to advanced stages before it is recognized. In most cases, a combination of the following will be used to diagnose the disease:
- History of Possible Exposure
- Physical Examination
- Breathing Tests
- Blood Work
- Chemical or Microscopic Analysis
- Diagnostic Scans, such as PET scans, CT scans, X rays or MRIs of chest or abdominal cavity