Mesothelioma: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

Mesothelioma is an uncommon type of cancer that most frequently arises from the cells lining the cavities of the chest (the pleura) or the abdomen (the peritoneum).

Pleural mesothelioma (in the chest cavity) is the most common form and results in symptoms such as cough, chest pain, rib pain, and shortness of breath. Peritoneal mesothelioma is less common and affects the organs in the abdomen, leading to nausea, vomiting, abdominal swelling, and sometimes bowel obstruction. Other associated symptoms can include fatigue, loss of appetite, night sweats, and weight loss.

Causes of mesothelioma

Exposure to asbestos causes mesothelioma, often many years before the actual development of the cancer. In most cases, exposures to asbestos occurred in the workplace before 1983.

Other mesothelioma symptoms and signs


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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.