Early symptoms of mesothelioma are difficult to identify and therefore often overlooked.
Pleural mesothelioma symptoms may first appear as shortness of breath, chest pains or persistent cough or a change in cough pattern. Some patients however, may show no symptoms at all.
Peritoneal mesothelioma symptoms include pain or swelling in the abdomen, nausea, weight loss, bowel obstruction, anemia or swollen feet.
According to the National Cancer Institute, if you have been exposed (or suspect you have been exposed) to asbestos dust either on the job, at home, or via a family contact, you should inform your physician of your exposure history and any symptoms. Asbestos fibers can be measured in urine, feces, mucus, or material rinsed out of the lungs. A thorough physical examination, including a chest x-ray and lung function tests, may be recommended. It is important to note that chest x-rays cannot detect asbestos fibers in the lungs, but they can help identify any lung changes resulting from asbestos exposure. Interpretation of the chest x-ray may require the help of a specialist who is experienced in reading x-rays for asbestos-related diseases. Other tests also may be necessary.