Hello and welcome to this comprehensive guide on epithelial mesothelioma symptoms. This type of cancer is rare but aggressive, and it’s important to know the warning signs to catch it early. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment of epithelial mesothelioma. Let’s get started.
What is Epithelial Mesothelioma?
Epithelial mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the lining of your body’s internal organs, called the mesothelium. This cancer is most commonly found in the lining of the lungs, but it can also affect the lining of the heart, stomach, or other organs. Epithelial mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, a mineral that was widely used in construction and other industries until it was banned in the 1970s.
How Common is Epithelial Mesothelioma?
Epithelial mesothelioma is a rare cancer, accounting for less than 20% of all cases of mesothelioma. It primarily affects older adults who were exposed to asbestos earlier in life. Men are more likely to develop mesothelioma than women, and people who worked in industries such as construction, shipbuilding, and mining are at higher risk. However, anyone who has been exposed to asbestos can develop this cancer, including family members of workers who brought home asbestos fibers on their clothing.
What are the Symptoms of Epithelial Mesothelioma?
The symptoms of epithelial mesothelioma can vary depending on the location of the cancer, but some common symptoms include:
|Pain in the chest, especially when breathing or coughing
|Shortness of breath
|Feeling out of breath, even during light activity
|A persistent cough that doesn’t go away
|Feeling tired or weak, even with plenty of rest
|Losing weight without trying
How is Epithelial Mesothelioma Diagnosed?
Diagnosing epithelial mesothelioma can be challenging because the symptoms are similar to those of other respiratory conditions. The doctor will start by taking a detailed medical history and conducting a physical examination. If mesothelioma is suspected, the doctor may order imaging tests such as X-rays or CT scans. A biopsy, in which a sample of tissue is removed and examined under a microscope, is usually needed to confirm the diagnosis.
What are the Treatment Options for Epithelial Mesothelioma?
The treatment options for epithelial mesothelioma depend on the stage of the cancer and the location of the tumor. Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy are the most common treatments. In some cases, a combination of treatments may be used. Palliative care, which focuses on relieving symptoms and improving quality of life, may also be provided. Your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan that fits your individual needs.
Early Warning Signs of Epithelial Mesothelioma
It’s important to catch epithelial mesothelioma early, as it can progress quickly and become more difficult to treat. Here are some early warning signs to watch for:
If you experience chest pain that doesn’t go away, especially when breathing or coughing, it could be a sign of mesothelioma. This pain may be caused by inflammation of the lining of the lungs or the buildup of fluid in the chest cavity.
Shortness of Breath
Feeling out of breath, even during light activity, can be a sign of mesothelioma. This is because the cancer can affect the lining of the lungs, making it harder to breathe.
A persistent cough that doesn’t go away could be a sign of mesothelioma. This cough may be dry or produce phlegm.
Feeling tired or weak, even with plenty of rest, can be a sign of mesothelioma. This is because the cancer can cause anemia, or a shortage of red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body.
If you’re losing weight without trying, it could be a sign of mesothelioma. This is because the cancer can affect your metabolism and make it harder to absorb nutrients from food.
Later Stage Symptoms of Epithelial Mesothelioma
If mesothelioma is not caught early, it can progress to later stages and cause more severe symptoms. Here are some signs of later stage epithelial mesothelioma:
If the tumor has spread to the lining of the stomach or intestines, it can cause difficulty swallowing or a feeling of fullness after eating only small amounts of food.
If the tumor has spread to the lymph nodes or other organs, it can cause swelling in the affected area. For example, if the cancer has spread to the abdomen, it can cause swelling and pain in the belly.
If the tumor has grown large enough to block the intestines, it can cause a bowel obstruction. This can cause severe pain, nausea, vomiting, and constipation.
If the tumor has spread to the liver, it can cause jaundice, or yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes. This is because the liver is not able to properly process bilirubin, a substance produced when red blood cells break down.
Cancer can increase the risk of blood clots, which can cause swelling, pain, and redness in the affected area. If a blood clot travels to the lungs or brain, it can be life-threatening.
FAQs about Epithelial Mesothelioma Symptoms
Q: What causes epithelial mesothelioma?
A: Epithelial mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, a mineral that was widely used in construction and manufacturing until it was banned in the 1970s.
Q: Who is at risk for epithelial mesothelioma?
A: Individuals who worked in industries such as construction, shipbuilding, and mining or lived with someone who did are at higher risk for developing epithelial mesothelioma, but anyone who has been exposed to asbestos can develop the cancer.
Q: What are the early warning signs of epithelial mesothelioma?
A: Early warning signs of epithelial mesothelioma include chest pain, shortness of breath, a persistent cough, fatigue, and weight loss.
Q: How is epithelial mesothelioma diagnosed?
A: Epithelial mesothelioma is diagnosed through a combination of medical history, physical exam, imaging tests, and a biopsy.
Q: What are the treatment options for epithelial mesothelioma?
A: Treatment options for epithelial mesothelioma include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and palliative care.
Q: What are the later stage symptoms of epithelial mesothelioma?
A: Later stage symptoms of epithelial mesothelioma include difficulty swallowing, swelling, bowel obstruction, jaundice, and blood clots.
Epithelial mesothelioma is a rare but aggressive cancer that can be caused by exposure to asbestos. It’s important to know the warning signs of this cancer so that you can catch it early and get the treatment you need. If you experience any of the symptoms we’ve discussed in this article, be sure to talk to your doctor as soon as possible. With early diagnosis and treatment, the prognosis for epithelial mesothelioma can be improved.