What is Mesothelioma?

Western New York residents are accustomed to seeing notices about mesothelioma and other lung diseases. Yet, most aren’t sure what exactly mesothelioma is, and even fewer could recognize the symptoms if they had the condition themselves. So what is mesothelioma, what are its symptoms, and how does it differ from lung cancers?

Lung Cancer and Mesothelioma: What’s the Difference?

There are several types of mesothelioma, but what we see most often is pleural mesothelioma, a cancerous growth in the outside lining of the lungs brought on by asbestos exposure. By comparison, most lung cancers form inside the lungs.

While there are many causes for lung cancers, including genetics, the same isn’t easily said of mesothelioma. According to the American Cancer Society, upwards of 80% of mesothelioma cases can be linked back to asbestos exposure. The problem is that asbestos has a lengthy incubation period, and it may be 20-50 years or more between the initial asbestos exposure and when someone presents symptoms of mesothelioma.

Inhaled asbestos becomes caught in your lungs and will irritate the surrounding tissues, causing coughing and tightness in the chest. Asbestos is a genotoxic material, meaning it irritates your body and makes it more difficult for your cells to copy your DNA correctly. That, in turn, can cause cell mutations and a layer of plaque to form around your lungs, making it even more difficult to breathe.

What Are the Symptoms of Mesothelioma

Because mesothelioma has a long latency period, it can be difficult to recognize the early warning signs. For that reason, anyone who thinks they may have been exposed to asbestos in the past needs to be able to identify symptoms and early warning signs. These typically include:

  • Chest pain or tightness

  • Shortness of breath

  • Painful coughing

  • Unexplained lumps on your chest.

That said, not every case of mesothelioma will affect the lungs. Mesothelioma may also manifest in the lining of the abdomen. This type of Mesothelioma may include the following symptoms:

  • Bloating

  • Frequent abdominal pain

  • Persistent nausea

  • Unexplained weight loss.

If you or someone you love were diagnosed with mesothelioma, you deserve a team that will fight for you. If you’d like to discuss your case with an experienced mesothelioma attorney from Richmond Vona, LLC, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.