Asbestos may be a naturally-occurring substance, but it is also a known human carcinogen. If you have ever had environmental exposure to asbestos, then you are at elevated risk for developing mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a highly deadly form of cancer that takes decades to develop in many cases and often proves fatal within years of manifesting symptoms. Even if it has been many years since you left the job where you handled asbestos, you will need to continue to monitor yourself for warning signs of mesothelioma.
The quicker you secure an accurate diagnosis, the more treatment options you may have and the easier it will be for you to get compensation for your illness. What symptoms should you watch for if you believe you are at risk of developing mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma can look like a cold
The symptoms of mesothelioma are easy for people to overlook, in no small part because mesothelioma develops in the organ linings and may take some time to spread to other tissue and present more concerning symptoms. For many people with mesothelioma, the first symptoms include shortness of breath or a sense of fatigue.
The exact symptoms depend on where the cancer develops. For those with mesothelioma in the chest, they may experience difficulty breathing and swallowing, as well as a cough and a hoarse voice. They may notice swelling in their face and arms and experience pain in their sides or lower back.
For those with mesothelioma affecting the membranes around the abdomen and pelvis, the symptoms will include stomach pain or swelling, as well as nausea vomiting or diarrhea. For those with mesothelioma around their heart, chest pain, changes in their heart rate and shortness of breath are common symptoms.
Anyone with mesothelioma may experience fever and sweating, fatigue, unwanted and unexplained weight loss and even blood clots. Many of these symptoms overlap with the signs of other diseases, which is why you need to let your doctor know if such symptoms persist for more than a few days and advise them of your prior environmental exposure to asbestos.
Recognizing the warning signs of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases will help you protect yourself or a loved one who has handled asbestos at work previously.