Mesothelioma is an rare and aggressive form of cancer that affects the thin layer of tissue that surrounds the organs, known as the mesothelium. Perform a self-exam with these guidelines to recognize this disease.
Step 1: Assess your risk Assess your level of risk. Mesothelioma usually presents symptoms in people who have been exposed to asbestos over long periods of time.
TIP: Be aware that mesothelioma symptoms may not appear until 30 to 50 years after the exposure.
Step 2: Know the two types Know the 2 types of mesothelioma. Pleural malignant mesothelioma affects the tissue around the lungs, known as the pleura. Rarer forms of mesothelioma affect the tissue around the heart, abdomen, and testicles.
Step 3: Look for pleural symptoms Take notice of chest pain, coughing that is painful, shortness of breath, unusual lumps of tissue under the skin on your chest, and unexplained weight loss, as these may be symptoms of pleural mesothelioma.
Step 4: Notice peritoneal symptoms Notice any abdominal pain, swelling, unexplained weight loss, and lumps under the skin of your abdomen that could indicate peritoneal mesothelioma, or mesothelioma of the abdomen.
Step 5: Check for bowel obstruction or blood clotting issues Check for bowel obstruction or blood clotting issues, as these are common symptoms.
Step 6: See your doctor Make an appointment with a doctor, and bring a list of your symptoms, and any medications you are taking. The doctor will take a biopsy of your tissue and test it to identify mesothelioma.
Step 7: Get treatment Get treatment. For many, there is no cure for mesothelioma. Surgery can be done to remove tissue, cancer, or fluids around the lungs. Radiation, chemotherapy, and drugs are used to treat the cancer and lower the pain to help keep the patient as comfortable as possible.
FACT: On average, our lungs breathe in 2,100 to 2,400 gallons of air every day.