The symptoms may take years to manifest themselves and the condition is usually very slow to appear. The speed at which it progresses will depend on the type of mesothelioma. Epithelioid mesothelioma is the slowest to progress and usually responds the best to treatment. Sarcomatoid mesothelioma progresses agressively and responds poorly to treatment. Biphasic mesothelioma grows at a slower rate than sarcomatoid mesothelioma but is more agressive than epithelioid mesothelioma.
As mesothelioma develops it causes a build up of fluid in the pleural space, known as pleural effusion. This takes up space inside the chest causing the affected lung to be squashed and restricting its ability to expand and contract. This is what causes you to feel out of breath. Even if there is no build up of fluid, the tumour can cause a shortness of breath if it grows around the lung and restricts its ability to expand.
Mesothelioma may start in the outer pleural membrane which surrounds the side of the ribs and chest wall. The tumour may cause pain in the chest as it grows.
Other symptoms which may be experienced include:
loss of appetite and / or weightloss
fatigue and tiredness
What should you do if you exhibit symptoms of mesothelioma?
Contact your General Practitioner who may refer you for an x-ray. If the symptoms are caused by mesothelioma, an x-ray will likely show a pleural effusion on the side of the chest. Your GP will then refer you for additional tests.
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