Mesothelioma, which can come from asbestos exposure, is not the same in every case. Considering how dangerous this type of cancer is and how often it proves fatal, it's very important to know what types there are and what symptoms you may see. As with other cancers, the key lies in early detection and treatment. The more you know, the easier it is to spot a serious medical issue.
Below are some of the most common types of mesothelioma and their symptoms, though this is not an exhaustive list and should be not taken as medical advice. Always talk to your doctor if you think you may have mesothelioma. Proper medical treatment is critical.
1. Pleural Mesothelioma
This is the type of mesothelioma that you find in your lungs. It makes up about 75 percent of all cases and is certainly the most common.
When you get exposed to asbestos, you inhale microscopic particles. They become trapped in your lungs and your body cannot expel them. They're very tough, and that durability is what makes them great building materials, but it also means they're devastating for living tissue.
If you have pleural mesothelioma, it may become harder for you to breathe. You may start losing weight without trying. You could have serious chest pain, and it may get worse if you cough -- which you may do more than normal. In some cases, you can also feel lumps on your chest, under your skin.
2. Peritoneal Mesothelioma
This type of mesothelioma happens in your abdomen. It is much less common, leading to anywhere from 15 to 20 percent of cases in the United States. Similar to inhaling the particles, you can also swallow them, leading to this disease.
Some of the symptoms include weight loss and lumps, as noted above for pleural mesothelioma. However, you may also have swelling in your abdominal region, and you could experience significant pain. This is sometimes misdiagnosed as an ulcer or a similar issue.
3. Pericardial Mesothelioma
The least common of all of the types listed here, with just around 1 percent of all cases, this type of mesothelioma happens in the tissue around your heart. It's often referred to as mesothelioma in the heart, though that's not technically correct. That sac of tissue around it is the pericardium, and that's where this occurs.
If you have it, you may feel chest pain and have heart palpitations. Breathing can also grow difficult, and you may develop a painful cough.
Do you or a loved one have mesothelioma? You need to know how you can seek compensation, as this is a very dangerous disease with costly medical treatment options.