Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Mesothelioma symptoms

The majority of mesotheliomas occur in the pleural (lung) cavity. Mesothelioma may also occur in the peritoneal (abdominal) cavity, the pericardium (heart) sac and, very rarely, the covering layer on the testicles (the tunica vaginalis). Symptoms of mesothelioma vary depending on where the cancer occurs.

Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of mesothelioma, followed by peritoneal mesothelioma. The frequency of pericardial mesothelioma and testicular mesothelioma is quite low and the symptoms are not well understood.

cancer symptoms

Mesothelioma symptoms

Pleural mesothelioma symptoms

The symptoms associated with pleural mesothelioma may be similar to other conditions affecting the lungs or chest. Pleural effusion, a complication of the disease, is the buildup of fluid in the chest. It may cause difficulty breathing.

Other common signs of pleural mesothelioma include:

  • Pain or difficulty breathing (pleurisy)
  • Chest pain
  • A dry (sometimes painful) cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Weakness and/or fatigue
  • Back pain
  • Unexplained weight loss

Peritoneal mesothelioma symptoms

Tumors that develop in the membrane lining the abdominal cavity may cause pain in that area of the body (the belly).

Common peritoneal mesothelioma symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Accumulation of fluid in the abdomen (swelling)
  • Diarrhea, constipation or other changes in bowel habits
  • Unexplained weight loss

Understanding cancer symptoms

These symptoms may be attributed to a number of conditions other than cancer. If you notice any cancer signs or symptoms, it's important to visit your doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

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