Mesothelioma Symptoms

Symptoms of mesothelioma may go unrecognized, as they are often similar to common illnesses. However, early detection of mesothelioma is key to extending your life expectancy.

Mesothelioma takes several decades to develop. When a patient does begin to show symptoms, they’re usually mild but worsen over time as cancer cells spread through the body. Quickly diagnosing mesothelioma will allow patients to start a treatment plan sooner.

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Detecting Symptoms of Mesothelioma

LungsMost malignant mesothelioma cases start with mild symptoms that persist and worsen over time. In fact, patients rarely notice symptoms of mesothelioma during the early stages of the cancer.

It can take 20-50 years for mesothelioma symptoms to present and for a patient to recognize that something is wrong.

Common signs of mesothelioma include:

  • Abdominal or chest pain
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weight loss

In general, mesothelioma symptoms vary depending on where in the body the cancer first develops.

Mesothelioma Symptoms from Dr. Michael Milano Video Thumbnail
Video Summary: Dr. Michael Milano, a radiation oncologist, discusses the symptoms of mesothelioma.

Dr. Micahael Milano explains mesothelioma and its symptoms.

Mesothelioma is a cancer, it's a malignancy. What a malignancy is, is it's a growth that can spread, can invade organs, and can metastasize. Symptoms may not appear until many decades often 30-50 years after a patient's initial asbestos exposure. The underlying cause of the symptoms is either fluid or a mass surrounding the lungs. Mesothelioma symptoms can either be chest pain, shortness of breath, cough, hemoptysis which is coughing up of blood. They can also have non-specific symptoms such as fatigue or weight loss. Often victims of mesothelioma do have their symptoms but they don't realize that it's from a cancer. Symptoms can go on for many months unchecked by a physician just because they're common symptoms that relate to common ailments.

As with all cancers, early detection offers the best chance for a positive outcome. Patients who think they are experiencing symptoms of mesothelioma — especially those with a history of asbestos exposure — should inform their doctor immediately.

Call Sokolove Law right now at (800) 647-3434 if you've been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease.

Pleural Mesothelioma Symptoms

Since malignant pleural mesothelioma begins in the lining of the lungs (pleura), its symptoms mainly affect the chest area and respiratory system.

Patients experiencing any of the mesothelioma symptoms listed below should see their doctor to get a physical exam and imaging tests, like X-rays or CT scans, to determine the cause of the symptoms.

If imaging tests show a mass in the lung area, fluid buildup in the lungs (pleural effusions), or other potential signs of pleural mesothelioma, a tissue biopsy will be performed to make a proper mesothelioma diagnosis.

Early Symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma

During the earliest stages of pleural mesothelioma (stages 1 and 2), patients usually experience mild symptoms. Some individuals may not even notice symptoms.

Early pleural mesothelioma symptoms include:

  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Fluid buildup in the chest
  • Weight loss

Symptoms of Advanced Pleural Mesothelioma

Late-stage (stages 3 and 4) symptoms of pleural mesothelioma are typically more severe, uncomfortable, and noticeable.

Advanced pleural mesothelioma symptoms include:

  • Coughing up blood (hemoptysis)
  • Chronic fever
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Fatigue
  • Increased difficulty breathing
  • Night sweats
  • Pain in the ribcage and spine
  • Severe weight loss, malnutrition, and loss of appetite
  • Shortness of breath when lying down

"Patients typically present with pneumonia that doesn't resolve, a cough. Sometimes they have some chest pain. Very often they have night sweats."
– Mary Hesdorffer, NP, Former Director of Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation

Treating Pleural Mesothelioma Symptoms

Patients with pleural mesothelioma can access palliative treatment options created to relieve their pain and discomfort.

Palliative care for pleural mesothelioma may include:

  • Chemotherapy and radiation: Both chemotherapy and radiation therapy can be used to shrink pleural mesothelioma tumors that cause chest pain and breathing issues.
  • Pleurodesis: During pleurodesis, extra fluid is removed from the lining of the lung, which is then sealed to prevent further fluid buildup.
  • Thoracentesis: This procedure drains fluid buildup between the pleura and the lungs to relieve chest pain, coughing, and shortness of breath.
  • BD PleurX™ catheter: This catheter is permanently inserted into a patient's body, allowing them to drain uncomfortable lung fluid buildup at home instead of going to a doctor.

“Before I had the PleurX catheter, it was hard for me to count on keeping appointments and dates. It would improve my mood, certainly, whenever I would drain. It was easier for me to sit up [...] I wasn’t short of breath.”
– Dr. Lawrence R., PleurX Patient Testimonial

Patients may also take pain medication, participate in clinical trials, or practice nonmedical therapies like massage and acupuncture to help manage symptoms of pleural mesothelioma.

The average cost of mesothelioma treatments is upwards of $400,000 a year. Fortunately, you may be eligible to receive financial compensation to help you pay for your medical expenses.

Sokolove Law can help patients learn about their financial options through a free legal case review.

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At Sokolove Law, we’ve recovered over $5 Billion for thousands of mesothelioma patients and their families nationwide. Let us get you the results you deserve.

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Peritoneal Mesothelioma Symptoms

Peritoneal mesothelioma develops in the lining of the abdomen (peritoneum). As a result, symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma usually affect the stomach area, leading to problems with appetite, bloating, and digestion.

Common symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating and swelling in the stomach
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Diarrhea and constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Fever and excessive sweating
  • Buildup of fluid in the abdomen (ascites)
  • Malnutrition and loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weight loss

Individuals who have been exposed to asbestos should contact their doctors if they experience any of the symptoms listed above.

Treating Peritoneal Mesothelioma Symptoms

Palliative care for peritoneal mesothelioma reduces uncomfortable or painful symptoms through surgery, chemotherapy, and other means.

Palliative care for peritoneal mesothelioma may include:

  • Cytoreduction: This surgery involves partial removal of a patient’s tumors to help relieve symptoms.
  • Paracentesis: This procedure is used to drain fluid from the abdomen, reducing bloating, loss of appetite, and other symptoms.
  • Chemotherapy and radiation: Chemotherapy and/or radiation may be used to shrink a patient’s tumors, especially if surgery is too risky.
  • Pain medication: Painkillers can help peritoneal mesothelioma patients manage pain caused by their cancer or treatment.

Many peritoneal mesothelioma patients also find symptom relief or increased peace of mind through alternative therapies. However, these therapies are not substitutes for medical treatment options.

Contact our team to learn more about the latest and most promising mesothelioma treatments and clinical trials.

Diagnosed with Mesothelioma?

Sokolove Law can help you pursue compensation for treatments and other expenses. Contact our team today for assistance.

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Pericardial Mesothelioma Symptoms

Pericardial mesothelioma affects the lining surrounding the heart (pericardium).

Symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma include:

  • Pain in the chest wall
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fluid buildup in the heart
  • Heart palpitations and heart murmurs
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Pericardial thickening
  • Tightness in the chest

Pericardial mesothelioma often remains undiagnosed until after a patient passes away and undergoes an autopsy.

If a patient does seek medical attention, this type of cancer is usually mistaken for heart disease or other heart-related conditions.

Testicular Mesothelioma Symptoms

Testicular mesothelioma develops in the lining of the testes (tunica vaginalis).

Symptoms of testicular mesothelioma include:

  • Lumps on the testicles
  • Fluid buildup in the scrotum
  • Swelling of the testicles

Due to its rarity, this form of mesothelioma is often misdiagnosed as a hernia.

22.6% of mesothelioma victims are misdiagnosed

Get Connected with a Mesothelioma Specialist

If you or a loved one are displaying symptoms of mesothelioma, consult your doctor as soon as possible. Early detection is one of the most important ways to increase the life expectancy of someone with mesothelioma.

Since mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer, many doctors may not be equipped to provide you with the help you need.

To access the best treatment techniques for mesothelioma, you will need to see a mesothelioma specialist who has experience diagnosing and treating your form of cancer.

Sokolove Law has registered nurses on staff who can help you understand your mesothelioma diagnosis and treatment options.

Our team has professional relationships with some of the best mesothelioma specialists in the country at comprehensive mesothelioma cancer treatment facilities nationwide.

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Affording Mesothelioma Treatment

Many manufacturers of asbestos-containing products knew of the dangers that asbestos posed to human health. However, they chose to put their profits over people’s lives.

Mesothelioma patients and their loved ones may be eligible to file for mesothelioma compensation from the companies and manufacturers responsible for their asbestos exposure.

$1M - $1.4M

Average Mesothelioma Settlement Amount

Mesothelioma patients may receive financial compensation from:

  • Asbestos trust funds: Bankrupt asbestos-related companies established special court-ordered trust funds to compensate current and future asbestos exposure victims and their family members.
  • Mesothelioma lawsuits: Victims can sue asbestos-related companies that are still in business by filing a personal injury or wrongful death mesothelioma claim. The majority of lawsuits end in a mesothelioma settlement, and many clients start getting paid in as few as 90 days.
  • VA Benefits: Many veterans were exposed to asbestos during their time in the military. Veterans with mesothelioma may be eligible to receive compensation through a VA claim.

Many people with mesothelioma can receive money from asbestos trust funds and mesothelioma lawsuits without ever even having to step foot in court.

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Our mesothelioma lawyers can determine if you’re eligible for asbestos trust fund compensation — at no cost to you.

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Sokolove Law: Helping Mesothelioma Patients for Over 40 Years

As a national mesothelioma law firm with over 40 years of experience, Sokolove Law has recovered over $5 Billion for mesothelioma patients and their families.

Our mesothelioma lawyers understand the complex emotions and financial burdens that can accompany a mesothelioma diagnosis, and we are passionate about pursuing justice on your behalf.

Let us help you get the compensation you deserve, so you can spend your time focused on your health and your loved ones.

Call (800) 647-3434 or fill out our contact form today for a free, no-obligation case review.

Mesothelioma Signs and Symptoms FAQs

What are the symptoms of mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma symptoms vary depending on the location and particular form of the disease. Symptoms may include:

  • Chest, side, back, or abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Hoarseness or trouble swallowing
  • Lumps of tissue in the chest
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Swelling of the abdomen or face and arms
  • Unexplained weight loss

Where does mesothelioma start?

Mesothelioma can originate in different parts of the body, depending on what type you have:

  • Pleural mesothelioma starts in the lining of the lungs (the pleura)
  • Peritoneal mesothelioma starts in the lining of the abdomen (the peritoneum)
  • Pericardial mesothelioma starts in the lining of the heart (the pericardium
  • Testicular mesothelioma starts in the lining of the testes (the tunica vaginalis)

How much does a mesothelioma attorney cost?

Our asbestos and mesothelioma lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means there are no upfront costs or hourly fees

We only get paid if we successfully secure compensation for you through an asbestos trust fund claim or mesothelioma litigation.

Sokolove Law Team

Contributing Authors

The Sokolove Law Content Team is made up of writers, editors, and journalists. We work with case managers and attorneys to keep site information up to date and accurate. Our site has a wealth of resources available for victims of wrongdoing and their families.

Last modified: May 1, 2024

  1. The American Cancer Society. "Signs and Symptoms of Mesothelioma." Retrieved from: Accessed on November 28, 2023.
  2. The American Cancer Society. "Can Malignant Mesothelioma Be Found Early?" Retrieved from: Accessed on November 28, 2023.
  3. The American Cancer Society. "Malignant Mesothelioma Stages." Retrieved from: Accessed on November 28, 2023.
  4. Mayo Clinic. "Mesothelioma." Retrieved from:,abdomen%2C%20to%20look%20for%20abnormalities. Accessed on November 28, 2023.
  5. [BD]. "BD PleurX™ Drainage System Patient Testimonial: Lawrence." Retrieved from: Accessed on November 28, 2023.