Mesothelioma Home > Mesothelioma Symptoms

When cancer begins in the membrane that surrounds the lungs, mesothelioma symptoms may include shortness of breath and pain in the chest or under the ribcage. If the cancer starts in the mesothelial tissue covering the organs in the abdominal cavity, symptoms such as weight loss and abdominal pain may develop. Sometimes, signs and symptoms will not appear until 30 to 50 years after initial exposure to asbestos.

Mesothelioma Signs and Symptoms: An Overview

Mesothelioma is a benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous) tumor that begins within the mesothelium, a protective lining surrounding most of the organs in the body. Most mesotheliomas begin within the pleura (the membrane that surrounds the lungs and lines the wall of the chest cavity) or the peritoneum (the mesothelial tissue that covers most of the organs in the abdominal cavity). Mesothelioma symptoms will vary, depending on where the tumor is located.

Pleural Symptoms of Mesothelioma

Pleural mesothelioma symptoms are usually due to an accumulation of fluid in the pleura. These symptoms often include:
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in the chest or under the ribcage.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Symptoms

Peritoneal symptoms of mesothelioma may include:
  • Weight loss
  • Lumps in the abdomen
  • Abdominal (stomach) pain
  • Abdominal swelling due to a buildup of fluid in the abdomen (stomach).
Other symptoms may also include:
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Blood-clotting abnormalities
  • Anemia
  • Fever.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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