The most common type of mesothelioma is called pleural mesothelioma, affecting the membrane lining the chest cavity and lungs and causing a buildup of fluids there that makes normal breathing difficult or impossible. Symptoms of this form include recent onset of shortness of breath, recent increase in shortness of breath, cough, chest pain, weight loss, weakness, and—the most common finding upon physical examination—an accumulation of fluid called pleural effusion. This form accounts for up to 75 percent of all cases of mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma patients diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma are in most cases referred to a thoracic surgeon who specializes in chest surgeries. When dealing with the recovery of a lost lung function, a pulmonologist may be sought.
Where radiation therapy is prescribed a radiation oncologist is employed. Where chemotherapy is warranted a medical oncologist performs the treatment options.
The next most common form of the disease is peritoneal mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the abdomen. Here, tumors develop and press on the internal organs. This pressure produces symptoms such as pain and swelling in the abdomen, chest pain, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing.
Mesothelioma patients diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma can be referred to any and all three types of oncologists depending on the medical protocols needed for treatment.
The rarest form of mesothelioma is pericardial. This can occur when asbestos fibers travel from the lungs to the mesothelial tissue that surrounds the heart. As the resulting cancerous tumors expand, they restrict heart function and sometimes cause cardiac failure. Symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma include chest pain, heart palpitations, fatigue, and night sweats.
Again, a surgical oncologist will perform many of the procedures when treating mesothelioma involving the heart.