Canadian Cancer Society logo

Mesothelioma

You are here: 

Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma

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.

Pleural mesothelioma

Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma in the chest (pleural mesothelioma) include:

  • chest discomfort – aching or pain in the side of the chest or under the rib cage
  • shortness of breath (dyspnea) – often caused by a buildup of fluid around the lungs (pleural effusion) or thickening of the pleura
  • persistent cough
  • trouble swallowing
  • hoarseness – if there is pressure on the nerves of the voice box (larynx)
  • swelling of the face and arms
  • unexplained weight loss
  • loss of appetite
  • fever
  • sweating
  • malaisemalaiseA general feeling of discomfort or illness.

Peritoneal mesothelioma

Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma in the abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma) include:

  • buildup of fluid in the abdomen (ascites or peritoneal effusion)
  • swelling of the abdomen
  • abdominal pain
  • lump in the abdomen or pelvis
  • nausea and vomiting
  • unexplained weight loss
  • loss of appetite
  • fever
  • blockage of the bowel (bowel obstruction)

Stories

Paul Newcombe Volunteering during Daffodil Month is an incredibly rewarding experience, whether you have been touched by cancer or not.

Read Paul's story

Trusted online community of support

Illustration of computer

Cancerconnection.ca provides a trusted online community for cancer patients, their family and friends.

Learn more