Medically Reviewed by James Stevenson, M, D. The average latency period for malignant mesothelioma is 35 to 40 years between exposure and diagnosis. However, it may take 10 to 50 years before symptoms of rare cancer develop after initial exposure to asbestos. Early signs of malignant mesothelioma neoplasm may include coughing, shortness of breath, and pain in the chest, shoulders or abdomen.
Too often, mesothelioma is not diagnosed until symptoms are aggravated and patients are already in the late stages of this rare and severe form of cancer. If you are looking for support for mesothelioma, contact our patient advocates at (85) 404-4592. People with mesothelioma may experience the following symptoms or signs. Sometimes, people with mesothelioma don't have any of these changes. Or, the cause of a symptom may be a different medical condition other than cancer.
Often, symptoms of mesothelioma may not appear until years or even decades after exposure to asbestos. Amy Fair, a nurse with more than 20 years of experience in mesothelioma, explains the symptoms that victims exposed to asbestos see. Most symptoms of mesothelioma appear 10 to 50 years after exposure. Exposure to this mineral is the only known cause of mesothelioma.
Stray asbestos fibers that are inhaled or ingested can remain dormant for decades after they adhere to the lining of organs. Stages 1 and 2 are considered early-stage mesothelioma, and treatment focuses on slowing cancer growth and improving life expectancy. Stages 3-4 are considered late-stage mesothelioma, and there may be no life-prolonging treatment options due to the extent of cancer growth. Symptoms of mesothelioma tend to develop gradually over time.
They usually don't appear until several decades after exposure to asbestos. The signs and symptoms of mesothelioma can vary depending on the location of the cancer. Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include shortness of breath, chest pain, and cough. Signs of peritoneal mesothelioma include bloating, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain.
Medical care can help you manage symptoms of mesothelioma. Mesothelioma of the vaginal tunica, which affects the tissue surrounding the testicles, may first be detected as swelling or mass in a testicle. With excellent symptom control and the best treatments, many people live longer than mesothelioma statistics predict. Symptoms and signs of pleural mesothelioma are similar to those that occur with less severe respiratory and other diseases, making diagnosis difficult.
The Mesothelioma Veterans Center is not affiliated with or endorsed or sponsored by any of the doctors listed above. While mesothelioma is a fatal disease with a generally disappointing prognosis, there are many survivors who have remained cancer-free for years after their original diagnosis. Seeing a mesothelioma specialist can help you get an accurate diagnosis and avoid misdiagnosis. Many people mistakenly think that pleural mesothelioma is a type of lung cancer, but it actually develops in the delicate lining that surrounds the lungs and not in the lungs themselves.
After confirming the diagnosis, doctors will recommend a mesothelioma treatment plan to help patients manage symptoms and live longer. It is very important to diagnose the disease in the early stages of mesothelioma so that the patient has a better prognosis. Symptoms of malignant mesothelioma are often grouped into early-stage or late-stage categories because there is an overlap between the four levels of disease progression. The signs and symptoms of other types of mesothelioma are not clear, since these forms of the disease are very rare.
Patients with early-stage (stage 1) pleural mesothelioma often have vague symptoms that mimic signs of more common and less serious diseases. Veterans who know they were exposed to asbestos should be screened regularly for cancer, even if they don't have symptoms of mesothelioma. Treatment of patients with advanced mesothelioma often focuses on relieving painful symptoms and keeping the patient comfortable rather than improving the survival rate. .