World Cancer Day Highlights Awareness: Know the Warning Signs of Mesothelioma

Today is February 4th, the day that the mesothelioma community and cancer community around the world marks as World Cancer Day each year. Though much of what is highlighted during this annual celebration is the innovation and accomplishments that researchers have made towards finding a cure, there is an equally robust focus on making sure that people are aware of their cancer risk, and of the signs they need to watch for in order to get diagnosed faster and begin treatment sooner. This is particularly true for those who have a known exposure to asbestos, and who are at risk for malignant mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cancers.

Malignant Mesothelioma Is Caused by Exposure to Asbestos

If you have ever been exposed to asbestos, and particularly if that exposure was extensive, then you are unfortunately at risk for malignant mesothelioma, a rare and fatal form of cancer that forms in the organ that lines the abdominal cavity and the chest cavity. Though tremendous strides have been made in treating this disease, it is still one of the most challenging that modern medicine faces. Part of the reason that mesothelioma is so difficult to treat is that it is notoriously resistant to traditional protocols such as chemotherapy, and part of the reason is that it is generally diagnosed when it has advanced too far for treatments to be effective.

Understanding the Signs and Symptoms of Malignant Mesothelioma

One of the most important messages that those at risk for mesothelioma can take away from World Cancer Day is a renewed understanding of mesothelioma’s signs and symptoms. The more aware you are of what to look out for if you’ve been exposed to asbestos, the earlier you can detect the disease’s presence and seek medical attention. This will help you and your physician to achieve your best chances of survival.

The most common signs and symptoms of malignant pleural mesothelioma include:

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

The most common signs and symptoms of malignant peritoneal mesothelioma include:

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

On World Cancer Day and every other day, those who are at risk for malignant mesothelioma need to be vigilant and respond quickly should symptoms arise. If you have questions about your own risk for mesothelioma, or you have already been diagnosed and need information on the resources available to you, contact the Patient Advocates at today at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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