Custom Search

Signs and symptoms of Mesothelioma

Symptoms of mesothelioma may not appear until 20 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos. Shortness of breath, cough, and pain in the chest due to an accumulation of fluid in the pleural space are often symptoms of pleural mesothelioma. Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include weight loss and cachexia, abdominal swelling and pain due to ascites (a buildup of fluid in the abdominal cavity). Other symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma may include bowel obstruction, blood clotting abnormalities, anemia, and fever. If the cancer has spread beyond the mesothelium to other parts of the body, symptoms may include pain, trouble swallowing, or swelling of the neck or face. These symptoms may be caused by mesothelioma or by other, less serious conditions. Mesothelioma that affects the pleura can cause these signs and symptoms:
- Chest wall pain
- Pleural effusion, or fluid surrounding the lung
- Shortness of breath
- Fatigue or anemia
- Wheezing, hoarseness, or cough
- Blood in the sputum (fluid) coughed up

In severe cases, the person may have many tumor masses. The individual may develop a pneumothorax, or collapse of the lung. The disease may metastasize, or spread, to other parts of the body. Tumors that affect the abdominal cavity often do not cause symptoms until they are at a late stage. Symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Ascites, or an abnormal buildup of fluid in the abdomen
- A mass in the abdomen
- Weight loss

In severe cases of the disease, the following signs and symptoms may be present:
- Blood clots in the veins, which may cause thrombophlebitis
- Disseminated intravascular coagulation, a disorder causing severe bleeding in many body organs
- Jaundice, or yellowing of the eyes and skin
- Low blood sugar level
- Pleural effusion
- Pulmonary emboli, or blood clots in the arteries of the lungs
- Ascites

Facts about abestos

What is abestos?

Asbestos is the name for a group of naturally occurring silicate minerals that can be separated into fibers. The fibers are strong, durable, and resistant to heat and fire. They are also long, thin and flexible, so that they can even be woven into cloth. Because of these qualities, asbestos has been used in thousands of consumer, industrial, maritime, automotive, scientific and building products. During the twentieth century, some 30 million tons of asbestos were used in industrial sites, homes, schools, shipyards and commercial buildings in the United States. There are several types of asbestos fibers, of which three have been used for commercial applications: (1) Chrysotile, or white asbestos, comes mainly from Canada, and has been very widely used in the US. It is white-gray in color and found in serpentine rock. (2) Amosite, or brown asbestos, comes from southern Africa. (3) Crocidolite, or blue asbestos, comes from southern Africa and Australia.

What are asbestos-containing products?

What is common to many asbestos-containing products is that they were (are) used to contain heat (i.e. thermal insulation.) It is impossible to list all of the products that have, at one time or another, contained asbestos. Some of the more common asbestos-containing products are pipe-covering, insulating cement, insulating block, asbestos cloth, gaskets, packing materials, thermal seals, refractory and boiler insulation materials, transite board, asbestos cement pipe, fireproofing spray, joint compound, vinyl floor tile, ceiling tile, mastics, adhesives, coatings, acoustical textures, duct insulation for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, roofing products, insulated electrical wire and panels, and brake and clutch assemblies.
Some of these products contained a very high proportion of asbestos, while others contained small amounts. The following are some of the more common asbestos-containing products.

" Acoustical panels - Acoustical plaster - Acoustical tile - Adhesive - Asbestos board - Asbestos canvas - Asbestos cloth - Asbestos cord - Asbestos corrugated sheets - Asbestos curtains - Asbestos finishing cement - Asbestos flatboard - Asbestos gloves - Asbestos insulating blankets - Asbestos insulating cement - Asbestos mineral wool - Asbestos packing - Asbestos paper - Asbestos rollboard - Asbestos rope - Asbestos seals - Asbestos sheets - Asbestos sponge block - Asbestos sponge cover - Asbestos spray - Asbestos tape - Asbestos textile - Automobile hood liners - Blaze shield - Boilers - Bonding cement - Cables - Calcium silicate insulation - Carded asbestos cloth - Ceiling tiles - Cement - Ceramic tile - Cigarette filters - Clay - Cloth - Emulsion adhesive - Fake snow - Fire resistant insulation shield - Fireproofing cement - Hair dryers - High pressure packing - Insulation seal - Paint - Paper etc.

Who are at risk of abestos exposure?

Exposure to asbestos fibers can cause asbestos-related diseases including mesothelioma cancer and others. Many people have come into contact with asbestos fibers via their jobs, or occupational exposure. There is also a risk to the family members of those working in at-risk occupations; this exposure is called paraoccupational exposure. By one estimate, nearly 80% of the cases of mesothelioma are believed to be the direct result of occupational or paraoccupational exposure to primary asbestos fibers. A third group of people are also at risk but it is not a risk the derives from their job but from where they live. Those who live near sites likely to have asbestos around the facility - refineries, power plants, factories, shipyards, steel mills and building demolition - can be exposed via the release of asbestos fibers that contaminate their residential neighborhoods.

Asbestos-Exposure Risk includes:

Industries / Job Locations:

- Asbestos product manufacturing (insulation, roofing, building, materials)
- Automotive repair (brakes & clutches)
- Construction/contractors
- Maritime
- Oil refineries
- Power plants
- Railroads
- Shipyards / ships
- Steel mills


- Automotive mechanics
- Boiler makers
- Bricklayers
- Building Inspectors
- Carpenters
- Electricians
- Hod carriers
- Insulators
- Iron workers
- Laborers
- Longshoremen
- Maintenance workers
- Merchant marines
- Millwrights
- Painters
- Plasterers
- Plumbers
- Roofers
- Sheet metal workers
- Steam fitters
- Tile setters

Introduction to Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that is almost always caused by previous exposure to asbestos. In this disease, malignant cells develop in the mesothelium, a protective lining that covers most of the body's internal organs. Its most common site is the pleura (outer lining of the lungs and chest cavity), but it may also occur in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity) or the pericardium (a sac that surrounds the heart).

Most people who develop mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they inhaled asbestos particles, or have been exposed to asbestos dust and fibre in other ways, such as by washing the clothes of a family member who worked with asbestos, or by home renovation using asbestos cement products. Unlike lung cancer, there is no association between mesothelioma and smoking.