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Frequently Asked Questions: Information for Families

I understand that someone with pleural mesothelioma may experience pain when breathing. What other symptoms might they have?

Mesothelioma is characterized by having a lengthy incubation (latency) period that can take 40 or 50 years. Pleural mesothelioma is the more common form of the disease although cases of peritoneal (abdominal) mesothelioma have also been documented. Where the pleural form of the disease is concerned, the three most common symptoms are coughing, pains in the chest area and shortness of breath. However, there are other symptoms including:

  • Anemia (decrease in normal red blood cell levels)
  • Blood in fluids that are coughed up
  • Coughing, hoarseness, or wheezing
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Fluid around the lungs (pleural effusion).

Additionally, there are several other symptoms that may arise as the disease progresses and becomes more severe. These include:

  • Bleeding in other organs of the body
  • Clotting in the veins
  • Clotting in the lung’s arteries (pulmonary emboli)
  • Jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes)
  • Low blood sugar levels.

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