Common Malignant Mesothelioma Symptoms

The onset of symptoms is insidious, and patients often experience symptoms for 4-6 months before the diagnosis is made.

The most common symptoms are the following:

Recent onset of shortness of breath (31%)
Recent increase in shortness of breath (30%)
Chest pain (43%)

Other symptoms include the following:

Cough (35%)
Weight loss (23%)
Weakness (18%)
Increased sputum production (18%)
The most common findings on physical examination (79%) are signs of pleural effusion (eg, dullness to percussion or decreased breath sounds).

Patients with peritoneal involvement experience symptoms as follows:

Abdominal pain (60%)
Anorexia (27%)
Weakness (12%)
Nausea (11%)

The most common signs of peritoneal mesothelioma include the following:

Abdominal distention (56%)
Ascites (37%)
Weight loss (38%)
Abdominal mass (11%)
Frequency of Mesothelioma

In the US: Annual incidence of mesothelioma is 7-13 per 1,000,000 male patients with a history of asbestos exposure. Approximately 1 in 1,000,000 North American patients with no asbestos exposure present with mesothelioma per year. The incidence of mesothelioma is lower in women than in men, probably because fewer women than men worked outside the home in the mid-20th century; therefore, they were exposed less to asbestos.

The incidence of mesothelioma is highest in the Pacific and mid-Atlantic states and may be related to the location of industries such as shipyards.

Internationally: The incidence of mesothelioma in women is 2/1,000,000/year and in men is 10-30/1,000,000/year in industrialized countries where asbestos was used widely. The incidence of mesothelioma varies greatly among nations and is difficult to document in countries without mesothelioma registries. In France, an estimated 950 new patients are seen per year. In the United Kingdom (where a mesothelioma registry exists), incidence is expected to peak in the year 2020 at 2700 deaths per year and is expected to decline rapidly thereafter.
Mortality / Morbidity of Malignant Mesothelioma

Malignant mesothelioma usually is fatal. Death usually occurs within 18 months of first onset of symptoms. Mesothelioma usually presents 30-40 years after asbestos exposure.

Source: (Cancer 1986 Oct 1; 58(7): 1540-51)




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