Chest Pain as a Symptom of Mesothelioma

About 75 percent of cases of mesothelioma cancer diagnoses are termed as pleural mesothelioma because they are associated with the lining of the lungs that become cancerous. Peritoneal mesothelioma is related to the lining of a patient’s abdomen because of ingestion of asbestos. Though not common, mesothelioma may be seen in the mesothelium or lining tissue surrounding the heart, and this is regarded as pericardial mesothelioma. It has a small percentage of diagnoses accounting for about 1 percent while testicular mesothelioma takes a percentage of less than one in diagnoses.

chest pain symptom of mesothelioma

Patients having pleural mesothelioma or mesothelioma affecting the mesothelium of the lungs may have symptoms that are mistaken for diseases like influenza and pneumonia. However, the symptoms may be more aggressive than you find with typical symptoms of the other diseases. One of the commonest symptoms seen in patients with pericardial and pleural mesotheliomas is persistent chest pain.

The mesothelium having cancerous cells will continue to spread thus limiting the normal function of the different organs including the lungs and heart. This causes extreme pain in areas surrounding the organs resposnsible for breathing and pumping blood.4

About half of patients having pleural mesothelioma complain of pain in the back, lower, or sides of the chest3.

The pain occurs when pleural mesothelioma (that associated with the lungs) compresses the chest and the surrounding parts. Having localized pain in the chest may be as a result of growing mesothelioma, however, if the pain is generalized, it could indicate widespread cells damage. A patient may have difficulties in swallowing and breathing as well as shortness of breath coupled with coughing. These symptoms may also contribute to chest pain. If the lungs of a patient are struggling to supply oxygen to the blood and at the same time they are fighting cancer, it is most likely that the chest pain will be felt.

In case of pleural mesothelioma (the one affecting the lining of lungs), as it spreads throughout the lung’s mesothelium, the esophagus is narrowed or constricted something that radiates pain in the chest area. Again, difficulty swallowing commonly referred to as dysphagia may also cause pain that radiates down the patient’s throat to reach the chest area.4

An individual may have shortness of breath that tends to occur if the lungs don’t function at their full capacity. This makes an individual to struggle while breathing. When coupled with pleural effusion or pressure arising from buildup of fluid within the chest, it causes shortness of breath as well as pain.4

Another reason a patient may have chest pain if they suffer from pleural and pericardial mesothelioma is coughing. Pleural effusion and shortness of breath will bring about coughing as a patient tries to clear the airway to allow breathing, but that gasping for air throbs and causes pain to radiate in the chest cavity.

While pericardial mesothelioma is pretty rare, chest pain is identified as a common symptom. Because the heart’s lining is damaged, it tends to affect the natural muscular rhythm. A heart that struggles to beat against a weak or damaged lining will cause pain to emanate from the area.

As the mesothelium of the heart (lining enveloping the heart) gets attacked by the spreading cancer, the heart struggles to beat and regulate the blood circulation, and this in many individuals causes extraordinary pain within the chest cavity. People who have pericardial mesothelioma feel as though they are having the classic symptoms of a condition like heart attack, because the pain is so great.

Chest pain is not experienced in patients with peritoneal mesothelioma, but such individuals may have abdominal pain.

Malignant mesothelioma is a deadly illness affecting vital organs like the heart, lungs, spleen, stomach, or liver. While not all but most symptoms of mesothelioma tend to be interconnected – causing exacerbating pain. So if you had prolonged asbestos exposure and now you have begun having chest pain that is turning to be chronic, you may want to seek immediate attention of a doctor.

Reference List

  1. What Are the Most Common Mesothelioma Symptoms? https://www.asbestos.com/mesothelioma/symptoms.php
  2. Mesothelioma Early Symptoms and Latency Period. https://www.mesotheliomahelp.org/mesothelioma/symptoms/
  3. Warning Signs of Mesothelioma. https://www.everydayhealth.com/mesothelioma/mesothelioma-warning-signs.aspx
  4. Mesothelioma – Chest Pain. https://www.mesothelioma.com/mesothelioma/symptoms/chest-pain.htm

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