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Mesothelioma symptoms do not show up early. Even when the mesothelioma symptoms begin to show up, it is hard to detect. This is because the symptoms are not life-threatening symptoms and are like common ailment symptoms making difficult to detect the mesothelioma early stages.
Mesothelioma patients may experience different types of symptoms depending on the type of mesothelioma and its stage. The tumor growth with fluids accumulation in the areas of the lungs and abdomen triggers the mesothelioma symptoms. The symptoms can determine the condition and the stage of mesothelioma. Therefore, those who experience mesothelioma symptoms should consult a doctor immediately.
Mesothelioma Causes and Risk Factors
It starts with cells having a series of genetic mutations that cause cells to grow and multiply in an uncontrolled manner. The reasons behind the initial genetic mutations turning to mesothelioma are not known yet. But the causes for the mesothelioma have been identified by the researchers. The common causes are the environment, inherited conditions, lifestyle and one’s health conditions.
The prime factor for the development of mesothelioma is exposure to the asbestos fibers. Therefore, need not mention, those exposed to asbestos fiber or dust are more vulnerable to mesothelioma.
Today, asbestos is in use for many purposes such as insulation, roofing sheets, and heat resistance. How the asbestos fiber affecting people is discussed in detail below.
Apart from asbestos erionite fiber has also been identified to cause mesothelioma and found to be higher in the areas of Cappadocia in Turkey.
Type of Mesothelioma and Symptoms
Pleural Mesothelioma Symptoms
The asbestos fiber causes the development of pleural mesothelioma. While inhaling asbestos fiber can get stuck in the lungs linings. Eventually, the stuck asbestos fibers cause inflammation and thereby thickens the layers of the pleura. As a result of the thickened lining of the lungs and the fluid build-up around it restrict the lungs expanding fully while inhaling. This means feeling uneasiness and pain while breathing.
Pleural Mesothelioma Stage 1 and 2 Symptoms
In the early stages of the pleural mesothelioma symptoms are not significant and look like other normal ailments symptoms.
- Uneasiness while breathing
- pain while breathing
- shortness of breath known as dyspnea
- chest pain
- coughing continuously
- weight loss
- body pain
Pleural Mesothelioma Stage 3 and 4 Symptoms
The later stages of the pleural mesothelioma are when the symptoms of the stage of 1 and 2 get more severe in addition to a few more symptoms. Unfortunately, at this point, only many people decide to go to the doctor to have them diagnosed.
- Sweating at nights
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath (dyspnea)
- Pain while breathing
- Fluid buildup (pleural effusions)
- Continuous coughing
- Coughing up blood known as hemoptysis
- Pain while swallowing (dysphagia)
Peritoneal Mesothelioma Symptoms
Peritoneal mesothelioma is caused by the ingestion of the asbestos fiber or dust. It affects the lining of the peritoneum which is the abdomen.
This type of mesothelioma has some of the symptoms of pleural mesothelioma in addition to a few other symptoms.
The cases of peritoneal mesothelioma are much less compared to the people with pleural mesothelioma.
- Weight loss
- Abdominal fluid build-up
- Loss of appetite
Pericardial Mesothelioma Symptoms
The tumors forming around the heart (pericardium ) is called pericardial mesothelioma. The cases of the pericardial mesothelioma are comparatively much less and rare.
- Pericardial thickening
- Chest pain
- Heart murmurs or irregular heartbeats
- Difficulty while breathing (Dyspnea)
- Fluid build-up (Pericardial effusion)
- Pericardial bleeding
The mesothelioma diagnosis is interpreted wrongly for a common ailment most of the time. This is because of the symptoms of mesothelioma misleads as for the symptoms of other ailments.
Pleural mesothelioma cases are detected at stages of 3 and 4. Because seldom symptoms show up at early stages.
Many diagnosis methods applied by doctors to detect the mesothelioma. Such diagnosis methods are namely;
- Imaging tests such as X-Ray, Computed Tomography Scan ( CTS), Positron Emission Tomography Scan (PET) and Magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI)
- Blood Marker Tests such as Mesomark, cancer antigen 125 (CA125) and Fibulin-3
- Surgical Biopsies such as thoracotomy, laparotomy, thoracoscopy, laparoscopy, and mediastinoscopy
- Non-surgical biopsies
The symptoms appearing in places except where the mesothelioma had developed is called metastatic symptoms. Such symptoms are;
- Spitting up blood or at Coughing (Hemoptysis)
- Damage to the throat causing paralysis of the voice box (Laryngeal Nerve Pals)
- Nerve issues in arms
- Eye-related issues like constriction of pupils, drooping eyelid, conjunctival redness (Horner’s Syndrome) and less tear production
The metastatic symptoms are the advanced stages of the mesothelioma. So, seek a doctor immediately for the best possible treatment.
Herbal Remedies For Mesothelioma
Before the modern way of treating mesothelioma, the physicians have used herbs and plants for treatment. Since doctors have access to the drugs made in the laboratory today, they now opt for these drugs to treat mesothelioma.
Certain clinical trials have demonstrated that herbs can control;
- Boost chemotherapy
- Reducing the growth of mesothelioma cells
- Reduce the mesothelioma symptoms
- Helping in boosting the immune system
- Reduce the side effects of mesothelioma treatment
- Helping in overall wellness
Point to note is that certain herbs can hinder cancer treatment. Consult a doctor before using herbs for treatment.
Ginger – has shown anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory results in the lab tests. Ginger also good to control nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy treatment. Avoid ginger before and after surgeries as it may promote bleeding. Particularly not good for the patients with low platelet count.
Goldenseal – In laboratory tests, it has controlled the growth of cancer cells in the brain, breasts, and prostate.
Aloe Vera – Studies have shown that Aloe Vera has prevented mouth sores patients in chemotherapy treatment. It also slows the spread of esophageal and liver cancer cells
Licorice – In tests, it had shown anti-cancer effects in breasts and prostate. Also, preventing mouth sores in radiation therapies.
Dandelion root extract – anti-inflammation and anti-oxidant properties have shown anti-cancer effects
Milk Thistle – This is an anti-oxidant has shown anti-cancer effects in tests.
Mistletoe extracts – It has helped the effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatment in a breast, lungs, pancreatic and colorectal cancers.
Turmeric – curcumin substance of turmeric used for anti-inflammation.
Herbal Medicines for Mesothelioma Symptoms
Shortness of breath - Eucalyptus, Hawthorn, White Pine Bark, Lobelia
Coughing - Slippery Elm Bark, Black Cohosh, White/Western Yarrow
Pain - Boswellia, Marijuana, Curcumin/Turmeric, Arnica, White Willow Bark
Sleeplessness or insomnia - Valerian, Passionflower, Chamomile
Depression – Valerian, St. John’s Wort
Anxiety or stress - Passionflower, Kava, Magnolia Bark
Do take necessary precautions if you are opting for herbal medicine treatments. Check the labels have GAP, GLP, GSP or GMP before taking it.
Always consult a doctor before using herbs, as this is a serious illness and your actions should not make it worse.
The information on herbal medicine has been sourced from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center