How Does Mesothelioma Kill You?

How Does Mesothelioma Kill You?

Mesothelioma is linked to prolonged asbestos exposure. The majority of cases are a result of occupational exposure to the mineral. However, the disease can remain latent in the body for a long time. 

Symptoms typically appear 20 to 50 years after the initial exposure, making it difficult to treat in the early stages.

There are four types of mesothelioma, and each is identified based on the location of the affected mesothelium. Among them, pleural mesothelioma is the most common, affecting more than half of diagnosed cases.

Most patients get pleural mesothelioma from inhaling asbestos fibers, which causes cell mutations in the lungs that develop into a malignant tumor.

The tumor causes patients to experience chest pain, breathing difficulties, and persistent coughing, caused by the build-up of fluid in the chest, known as pleural effusion.

In many cases, the condition leads to respiratory failure and, ultimately, death. There are also instances when the tumor spreads and invades other organs and tissues, such as the heart, abdomen, diaphragm, and esophagus, causing them to malfunction.

Early-stage symptoms

When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they become trapped in the lining of the lungs

(pleura), causing irritation and inflammation — which leads to thickening in the
pleura layers, in addition to fluid buildup around the lungs. 

All the fluid and thickening around the lungs prevent them from fully expanding, causing chest discomfort and pain when breathing.

Typical symptoms of Stages 1 and 2 of pleural mesothelioma include:

  • Body aches
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Persistent coughing
  • Pleural effusions (fluid buildup)
  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea)
  • Weight loss
mesothelioma — leading to difficulties diagnosing the disease in its early stages.

In many cases, it is not diagnosed until Stages 3 and 4.
from earlier stages, they can become more severe. But more symptoms specific to pleural mesothelioma becomes apparent, so most patients are diagnosed with
Stages 3 and 4.

Unfortunately, you can see that these symptoms are not specific to

While symptoms during the late stages of pleural mesothelioma do include those

Symptoms in these later stages include:

  • Anemia
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Coughing up blood (hemoptysis)
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Fatigue
  • Fever and/or night sweats
  • Loss of appetite/weight loss
  • Painful breathing
  • Persistent coughing
  • Persistent pain in the chest or rib region
  • Pleural effusions
  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea)
So while mesothelioma is a very serious diagnosis — the kind that compels people to use search phrases like “How does mesothelioma kill you?”
— there are steps to take in the fight against it.

Early detection is the most important factor, as patients diagnosed during Stage 1 have the best outlook. By starting a course of treatment — usually, one or a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy — as early as possible, patients can begin their fight against this disease.

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