Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

What are the Symptoms of Mesothelioma?

Symptoms can vary depending on which organ is involved but can include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Persistent cough
  • Pain under the rib cage
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Fever
  • Anemia
  • Problems with blood clotting

How is Mesothelioma Diagnosed?

  • Complete physical exam, including lung function tests, lung X-ray, blood tests
  • CT (CAT) scan or MRI, which give detailed pictures of tissues and organs inside the body
  • Biopsy—surgery to remove a tissue sample that is studied by a specialist (pathologist)

How is Mesothelioma Treated?

Like most cancers, treatment can vary depending on what stage the cancer is in (how far it has progressed) and where it is located, as well as the patient's overall health and age. Treatment can include:

  • Surgery to remove tumors
  • Radiation
  • Chemotherapy
  • A combination of the above
  • Removal of fluid build-up from the chest or abdomen (to relieve pain and other symptoms)

Researchers are testing new treatments for mesothelioma. Some treatments are in the final stage of research—clinical trials. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, ask your doctor about clinical trials taking place near you, or contact the National Cancer Institute.