A sign is something that can be observed and recognized by a doctor or healthcare professional (for example, a rash). A symptom is something that only the person experiencing it can feel and know (for example, pain or tiredness). Mesothelioma may not cause any signs or symptoms in its early stages. Often the signs and symptoms of mesothelioma do not show up for 20–40 years after asbestos exposure. Symptoms appear once the tumour grows into surrounding tissues and organs or there is a buildup of fluid around the lung (pleural effusion) or in the abdomen (ascites). Most people with mesothelioma have advanced or widespread disease at the time of diagnosis.
The signs and symptoms of mesothelioma can also be caused by other health conditions. It is important to have any unusual symptoms checked by a doctor.
Signs and symptoms vary depending on the location of the mesothelioma.
Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma in the chest (pleural mesothelioma) include:
Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma in the abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma) include:
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