Mesothelioma symptoms

The symptoms of mesothelioma vary depending on whether it is in the pleura or peritoneum.

Symptoms of mesothelioma

The symptoms of mesothelioma vary depending on whether it is in the pleura or peritoneum.

If you have any of the symptoms listed below, it is important to get them checked by your GP. These symptoms can be caused by conditions other than mesothelioma.

We understand that having symptoms of possible cancer is worrying. Try to speak to your GP as soon as possible. We're also here if you need someone to talk to. You can:

Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma

The symptoms of pleural mesothelioma may include:

  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain that feels heavy, dull or aching
  • a high temperature (fever) and heavy sweating at night
  • extreme tiredness (fatigue)
  • weight loss
  • loss of appetite
  • a cough that does not go away.

Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma

The symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma may include:

  • swelling in the tummy (abdomen)
  • tummy pain
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • feeling sick (nausea)
  • changes in your normal bowel function, for example constipation or diarrhoea – especially if you are aged over 50 and this develops for the first time.

About our information

  • References

    Below is a sample of the sources used in our mesothelioma information. If you would like more information about the sources we use, please contact us at cancerinformationteam@macmillan.org.uk

    Woolhouse I et al. British Thoracic Society Guideline for the investigation and management of malignant pleural mesothelioma. Thorax. 2018.

    Thomas A et al. Mesothelioma. BMJ Best Practice. 2019.

    Baas P et al. Malignant pleural mesothelioma: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up.  Annals of Oncology. 26 (Supplement 5): v31–v39. 2015. Available from: www.pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26223247

    Kusamara S et al. Peritoneal mesothelioma: PSOGI/EURACAN clinical practice guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. European Journal of Surgical Oncology. March 2020.


  • Reviewers

    This information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan Cancer Support’s Cancer Information Development team. It has been reviewed by expert medical and health professionals and people living with cancer. It has been approved by Senior Medical Editor, Dr David Gilligan, Consultant Clinical Oncologist.

    Our cancer information has been awarded the PIF TICK. Created by the Patient Information Forum, this quality mark shows we meet PIF’s 10 criteria for trustworthy health information.