Malignant mesothelioma may not become apparent until 20 to 30 years after the first exposure to asbestos. Symptoms include:
- Difficulty breathing, pain in the chest or both
- Hoarseness, difficulty swallowing or coughing up of blood
- Increase in waist size or abdominal pain if cancer cells are growing in the abdomen
Causes and Risk Factors
Mesothelioma is most commonly diagnosed in patients 50 to 60 years of age. It occurs five times more often in men than women. Risk factors include:
- Exposure to asbestos. Needle-shaped asbestos fibers that cannot be cleared by the lungs cause cells to become cancerous.
- Exposure to beryllium and zeolite