Mesothelioma Cancer Cheat Sheet

In the United States, approximately 2,000 to 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma are reported each year.

Risk factors and warning signs may include:

Risk Factors:

  • I worked with asbestos materials on the job
  • I lived with someone who worked with asbestos
  • I lived in an area where asbestos occurs naturally in the environment
  • I lived near an asbestos mine or processing plant
  • I smoked or currently am a smoker with an asbestos exposure history (increases lung cancer risk, but not mesothelioma)
  • I was a 9/11 first responder at the World Trade Center

Warning Symptoms:

  • Persistent dry or raspy cough
  • Coughing up blood
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Night sweats or fever
  • Unexplained weight loss of 10 percent or more
  • Fatigue
  • Persistent pain in the chest or rib area, or painful breathing
  • Shortness of breath that occurs even when at rest
  • The appearance of lumps under the skin on the chest

Mesothelioma symptoms resemble less serious lung conditions and rarely arise at an early stage, which is why the disease is commonly diagnosed at a late stage of development. A late diagnosis can result in limited mesothelioma treatment options. Thus, in the interest of early detection, those who were exposed to asbestos should inform their physician of their exposure history and seek regular medical exams to check for signs of asbestos-related disease.

This information was provided by the Mesothelioma Center.