Oncologist-approved cancer information from the American Society of Clinical Oncology
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This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 3/2013
Symptoms and Signs

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about body changes and other things that can signal a problem that may need medical care. To see other pages in this guide, use the colored boxes on the right side of your screen, or click “Next” at the bottom.

People with mesothelioma may experience the following symptoms or signs. Sometimes, people with mesothelioma do not show any of these symptoms. Or, these symptoms may be caused by a medical condition that is not cancer. Often, symptoms of mesothelioma may not appear until years or even decades after asbestos exposure. If you are concerned about a symptom or sign on this list, please talk to your doctor. 

If mesothelioma is in the chest area, called pleural mesothelioma, the symptoms may include:

  • Shortness of breath, caused by thickening of the lining around the lung reducing how well the lungs can expand
  • Build-up of fluid in the chest, called a pleural effusion
  • Chest pain

If mesothelioma is in the abdominal area, called peritoneal mesothelioma, the symptoms may include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal swelling from a buildup of fluid, called ascites
  • Bowel obstruction

General symptoms of mesothelioma may include:

  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Problems with blood clotting
  • Anemia (low level of red blood cells)
  • Fever
  • Night sweats

Your doctor will ask you questions about the symptoms you are experiencing to help find out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis. This may include how long you’ve been experiencing the symptom(s) and how often.

If cancer is diagnosed, relieving symptoms and side effects remains an important part of cancer care and treatment. This may also be called symptom management, palliative care, or supportive care. Be sure to talk with your health care team about symptoms you experience, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.

Choose “Next” (below, right) to continue reading this guide to learn about what tests and scans you may have to learn more about the cause of your symptoms.  Or, use the colored boxes located on the right side of your screen to visit any section.

© 2005-2014 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). All rights reserved worldwide.

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