In the United States, approximately 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed each year. Specifically, Mesothelioma is a serious form of cancer that can affect the heart, lungs and/or abdominal wall. Unfortunately, the symptoms of mesothelioma mimic many other diseases, often making it difficult to initially detect. Overall, symptoms differ depending upon where the mesothelioma is located, and may vary from mild to severe.
If you or a loved one was exposed to asbestos and developed mesothelioma as a result, we can help. At Stern Law, PLLC, we provide compassionate yet zealous advocacy for those who have been injured or have died due to asbestos exposure. To learn more about your legal options, call (844) 808-7529 to schedule your free consultation. We look forward to making a difference for you.
The Three Types of Mesothelioma& its Associated Symptoms
There are three types of mesothelioma: pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma, and pericardial mesothelioma, all of which are further described as follows:
- Pleural mesothelioma – pleural mesothelioma is the most common of the three types of the disease and specifically affects the liming, or pleura, of the lungs. Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include chest or lower back pain, a persistent cough, coughing up blood, trouble swallowing, shortness of breath, fluid buildup around the lungs, hoarseness, difficulty talking, body aches, and blood clots.
- Peritoneal mesothelioma – peritoneal mesothelioma is a rarer form of cancer, with about 500 new cases diagnosed per year in the United States. This type of mesothelioma affects the abdominal lining, or peritoneum, and accounts for approximately 20% of all mesothelioma cases. Symptoms of this disease include abdominal pain, abdominal swelling, difficulty breathing, loss of appetite and/or weight loss, weakness, fever, anemia, nausea and vomiting.
- Pericardial mesothelioma – the least common type of mesothelioma, this disease develops in the lining, or pericardium, of the heart, and accounts for less than 50 cases diagnosed per year in the United States. Unlike pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma, it is unclear as to how asbestos fibers reach the pericardium. Often mimicking other diseases, pericardial mesothelioma causes the following symptoms: cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, heart murmurs, fatigue, fluid buildup around the heart, swelling of the extremities, heart arrhythmias, a more prominent jugular vein, and accentuated variance in the pulse during respiration.
When do Mesothelioma Symptoms Develop?
For all of the above forms of mesothelioma, symptoms of the disease can start anywhere between 10 to 50 years after asbestos exposure and depends upon several factors, including the type and level of one’s exposure. Generally, symptoms typically emerge in subtle ways, causing some people to shrug them off as simply a minor ailment that will eventually go away. Most often, this type of cancer takes years to develop, and is not fully detected until after tumors have started to spread, or metastasize, in the body. The vast majority of those who get mesothelioma are not diagnosed until the disease has reached later stages, such as stages III (the disease has spread where surgical options are often limited) and IV (the disease had already spread to the opposite side of the body and treatment is usually limited to symptom management).
How is Mesothelioma Diagnosed?
As noted, detecting mesothelioma can be challenged due to the fact that it often mimics other, more common ailments. In general, mesothelioma can be diagnosed as follows:
- Imaging – imaging studies provide critical information that can help make or rule out the diagnosis of mesothelioma. These include X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and PET scans.
- Blood tests – there are three mesothelioma biomarkers (mesomark, osteopontin, and Fibulin-3) that may be detected by a simple blood test. While blood tests are not the only method for diagnosing mesothelioma, they can provide useful information and may be part of the mesothelioma diagnostic workup.
- Biopsies – a biopsy is the single most reliable method for detecting mesothelioma. There are several different types of biopsies that depend upon the suspected location of the cancer. Your healthcare professional will be able to determine which type of biopsy is necessary depending on where he or she feels the disease may be located.
Taking Action Early is Key to Your Survival
If you are facing any of the above symptoms and were exposed to asbestos, it is critical that you seek medical attention immediately. The sooner you are diagnosed, the sooner you can be treated and potentially survive in the event that the disease is caught early.
Although mesothelioma can be a challenging diagnosis, there is hope. Don’t fight mesothelioma alone and without the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Contact Stern Law, PLLC to receive the skilled and compassionate legal representation you need.
Were You Diagnosed with Mesothelioma? Contact Stern Law, PLLC Today
At Stern Law, PLLC, we understand the complexities associated with a mesothelioma diagnosis, and want to help. We take the time you need to review your case, determine the sources of your exposure, and develop a plan of action to fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact Stern Law, PLLC today at (844) 808-7529 to schedule your free consultation with one of our seasoned asbestos exposure attorneys.