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Types of Mesothelioma Cancer and Their Warning Signs

Malignant mesothelioma is a cancer that results from asbestos exposure. The disease begins in the layer of specialized cells, known as the mesothelium, that lines certain parts of the body, such as the chest and abdomen. In these areas, abnormal cells grow out of control, invading and destroying normal cell tissue. The job of the mesothelium is to cushion and lubricate organs so they can function smoothly without jarring one another as they expand and contract. When cancer invades, simple organ function becomes unbearably painful. Malignant mesothelioma commonly starts in one of four areas:

  • Chest — Roughly 75 percent of mesotheliomas are pleural, affecting the sac that surrounds the lungs.
  • Abdomen — Most of the remaining cases of mesothelioma are peritoneal, affecting the serous membrane that forms the lining of the abdominal cavity.
  • Heart — Mesotheliomas that start in the pericardium, or heart lining, are exceedingly rare.
  • Scrotum — The rarest of all mesotheliomas are those that start in the tunica vaginalis, the lining of the testicles.

Not all mesotheliomas are cancerous. Benign fibrous or cystic tumors can be removed surgically. Most mesothelioma patients discover the disease when they see a doctor for symptoms that have troubled them for at least a few months. Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include:

  • Chest or lower back pain
  • Cough or shortness of breath
  • Excessive sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Hoarseness and difficulty swallowing
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Swelling of the face and arms

Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include:

  • Abdominal pain and/or swelling
  • Constipation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sudden weight loss

There are many conditions that can cause these persistent symptoms, and you should see a doctor regardless of whether you are at risk for mesothelioma. However, if you have been exposed to asbestos, the need to seek medical attention is even more urgent.

If you would like information on your legal rights after a mesothelioma diagnosis, schedule a free consultation at Prim Law Firm, PLLC. Call us at 304-721-4619 or contact our office online.

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