Signs and Symptoms of Mesothelioma

Malignant mesothelioma is a rare, but aggressive form of cancer that occurs in the thin layer of tissue that covers the majority of your internal organs.  Mesothelioma typically affects the tissue that surrounds the lung, known as the pleura, and is called pleural mesothelioma. Less common is mesothelioma of the lining of the abdomen, known as peritoneal mesothelioma.  Treatments are available, but many times, a cure is not possible.

Because extending the life of a person with mesothelioma can depend on early detection, it is very important that patients recognize the signs and symptoms of mesothelioma and contact their doctor if they are concerned.

Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma vary depending on where the cancer occurs.  However, keep in mind that mesothelioma is very rare, and the symptoms are more likely to be related to other conditions.

Symptoms include the following:

Pleural Mesothelioma (affecting the tissues surrounding the lungs):

Chest pain under the rib cage

Back pain

Painful coughing

Shortness of breath

Unusual lumps of tissue under the skin on your chest

Unexplained weight loss

Peritoneal Mesothelioma (affecting the tissue in the abdomen):

Abdominal pain

Abdominal swelling

Lumps of tissue in the abdomen

Unexplained weight loss

You should see your doctor if you have signs and symptoms that may indicate mesothelioma, especially if you have a history of exposure to asbestos.

Risk Factors

Asbestos is a mineral that is found naturally in the environment.  Because asbestos fibers are exceedingly strong and resistant to heat, asbestos was widely used in a variety of applications, such as insulation, brakes, shingles, flooring and many other industrial, commercial and residential settings.  Asbestos exposure, whether at home or at work, is the primary risk factor for mesothelioma. That being said, most people, even with years of asbestos exposure, never develop mesothelioma. Conversely, others that may have had very brief exposure to asbestos can develop the disease.

One of the factors that may increase your risk for contracting mesothelioma is a personal history of exposure to asbestos fibers at work or at home.  In addition, living with someone who works with asbestos is a risk factor because people who are exposed to asbestos at work can carry the fibers home in their hair, on their skin and on their clothing.  Once those asbestos fibers are brought into the home, the other family members will be exposed to the asbestos.


If you think you or a loved one has been negligently exposed to asbestos, you may have a case. Contact a lawyer from an experienced law firm, like a personal injury law firm Bethesda MD trusts, today.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Brown | Gould | Kiely LLP for their insight into signs and symptoms of mesothelioma.