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It can take decades after asbestos exposure for mesothelioma symptoms to appear 

Mesothelioma symptoms can appear 20 to 40 years or longer after airborne particles and fibers of asbestos are inhaled.

That was certainly the case for one former New York City sanitation worker who began experiencing trouble breathing decades after exposure to asbestos. Ailing, he went to a doctor and was eventually told he had a tumor exceeding 10-centimeters in length -- suggestive of pleural mesothelioma (or lung mesothelioma).

While the four types of mesothelioma have symptoms in common, differences do exist among them (scroll down to compare). The difficulty for diagnosticians is that the various mesotheliomas exhibit symptoms similar to those of other, less serious health problems. Telling them apart therefore takes time -- and much expensive testing.

Early detection of mesothelioma symptoms is an important goal. In fact, many health professionals say that the goal should actually be early detection of the symptoms of asbestos exposure, before they mestastize into mesothelioma symptoms. Either way, catching the disease before it can get a toehold opens the door to more options for treatment -- and affords a better chance of longer life. Conseqeuently, health experts recommend that anyone who was exposed to asbetos be regularly tested for asbestos disease and mesothelioma.

Pleural mesothelioma symptoms

Pleural mesothelioma -- which accounts for about 75 percent of all mesothelioma cases -- develops in the pleura (the lining of the lungs) after inhaled asbestos becomes lodged there. Symptoms begin when lung tissue damaged and scarred by those trapped particles becomes so stiff that the lungs themselves no longer expand and contract normally.

Among the symptoms of malignant mesothelioma of the pleural cavity are:

  • Dry cough
  • Coughing of blood
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Night sweats
  • Fatigue

Peritoneal mesothelioma

Approximately 15 percent of all mesothelioma cases are Peritoneal mesothelioma (abdominal mesothelioma), which develops in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdomen).

Peritoneal mesothelioma symptoms include:

  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Swelling of the abdomen
  • Lumpy tissue formation in the abdominal region
  • Dramatic, unexplained weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

Pericardial mesothelioma

Pericardial mesothelioma affects the pericardium (the tissues surrounding the heart). Fewer than 10 percent of all mesothelioma cases are of the pericardial mesothelioma type.

Known symptoms of perocardial mesothelioma include:

  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Persistent fever

Testicular mesothelioma

Testicular mesothelioma (also called mesothelioma of tunica vaginalis) is the rarest type of mesothelioma. It develops in the tissue surrounding the testicles.

Owing to its rarity, little is known about the scope of symptoms associated with this form of the disease. The most prominent symptom is the presence of a mass on the testicle.

What to do if you experience the symptoms described above

1.  Consult your doctor immediately. Don't put it off. Don't engage in denial -- it's far better to be safe than sorry where  mesothelioma is concerned.

2.  Determine your risk category. You are at the highest risk of developing mesothelioma if you held a job as a mechanic, plumber, sheet metal worker, electrician, construction tradesman, or boilermaker. You also are at the highest risk of contracting the disease if you served aboard a U.S. Navy ship during World War II or later (up until around the 1990s).

3. Review and take stock of your personal finances. Mesothelioma is a very expensive disease to diagnose -- and even more so to treat. Many mesothelioma patients find themselves financially unprepared for the truly disastrous costs imposed on them by the disease and its aftermath. It is for these reasons that mesothelioma patients turn to the courts for relief, seeking a verdict against or a settlement with the companies at fault for having placed innocent and unsuspecting workers (and the members of their households) in harm's way by allowing them to be exposed to asbestos. 

4. Download the informative Asbestos Sourcebook here. It contains insights that will help you and your family prepare for what might -- or does -- lay ahead.

5. Contact Weitz & Luxenberg mesothelioma lawyers for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation to discuss your right to recover compensation from the asbestos companies and others who share the blame for giving you mesothelioma. This step is one you will not want to postpone, because there is a window of time in which you have the ability to obtain justice -- and once that window closes, you cannot afterward take the asbestos companies to court. A conversation with a Weitz & Luxenberg attorney will quickly determine whether or not time is on your side. A conversation with a Weitz & Luxenberg attorney will also help you see why this law firm has won many billions of dollars in mesothelioma verdicts and settlements during the past quarter century.

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