Looking out for the symptoms of mesothelioma

My name is Emily-Jane Scandrett. I’d like to raise more awareness about the symptoms people experience leading up to their diagnosis.  Not just awareness for the general public but for health care professionals too… as my diagnosis took a horrid 17 months!

What to look out for

Below are the symptoms listed on the MesotheliomaUK website:

shortness of breath

chest pain

loss of appetite

weight loss

fatigue and lethargy

They made me feel like a hypochondriac

I was different. I was five weeks pregnant when my symptoms first started. The major symptom I had was excruciating and paralysing pain in my lower right rib cage area. I also had terrific pain in my right shoulder blade that would radiate through my chest and down my right arm.  After numerous visits to A&E and hospital admissions, doctors and nurses were at a loss as to what was wrong with me, which made me feel like a hypochondriac. I felt so frustrated and powerless.  Mesothelioma is on the increase but knowledge isn’t!

Share your journey to diagnosis

I would like to know how many other people have experienced just one of the symptoms of mesothelioma, or the sort of widespread pain that I experienced, without any of  the other symptoms listed above ? How long did it take you to be diagnosed? Was treatment delayed due to a lack of awareness by doctors and nurses about the symptoms and seriousness of this incurable cancer?

Things could have been very different

It is constantly playing on my mind that if I hadn’t gone to A&E with excruciating pain AGAIN last September (after attending A&E many times before), I may have ended up in an even worse off situation further down the line than I am in now… i.e. I wouldn’t be treatable.

Editor’s Note

Mesothelioma is still a relatively rare cancer, especially in younger patients like Emily-Jane. Doctors and nurses may seldom come across it. They should always ask you what you do for a living. People in high risk occupations, like building trades, are more easily diagnosed. But many people will have had multiple jobs and everyone is exposed to asbestos at some time in their life. Don’t be put off from going back again and again, as Emily-Jane did, until you get a definite diagnosis.

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