Pleural mesothelioma symptoms

The first signs of mesothelioma are often vague and similar to other conditions. If you are concerned, see your general practitioner (GP). It may take some time to be diagnosed, as the symptoms may come and go, and more common conditions are likely to be investigated first. Let your GP know if you may have been exposed to asbestos in the past.

Symptoms will depend on where the mesothelioma has developed.

Pleural mesothelioma may cause:

  • Shortness of breath (breathlessness) – This common symptom usually feels worse with activity or when you are lying down. It is often caused by a build-up of fluid in the chest called pleural effusion (see Breathlessness for how this can be treated).
  • Pain – This can occur in the chest around the ribs or in the shoulder. It may be sharp and stabbing, made worse by breathing in deeply, or dull and persistent. You may also have a change in skin sensation or sensitivity to touch.
  • Other general symptoms – Some people experience loss of appetite with weight loss, loss of muscle bulk, loss of energy, a persistent cough or a change in coughing pattern. Some people also experience night sweats.

This information was last reviewed in May 2017
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