Mesothelioma is a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Unlike other asbestos-related conditions such as pleural thickening or asbestosis, which require heavy, prolonged exposure to asbestos, it only takes minimal exposure to asbestos to put someone at risk of developing mesothelioma.

Symptoms of mesothelioma

The symptoms of mesothelioma vary from person to person. In many cases there are no obvious symptoms until the disease has become very progressed. Mesothelioma can affect any organ but most often affects the lungs (pleural mesothelioma) and abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma).

Common symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include:

  • Chest pain, usually inside of the chest or lower back
  • Shortness of breath
  • A persistent cough
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Difficulty swallowing

Common symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include:

  • Abdomen pain
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Diarrhoea and/or constipation

Pain caused by mesothelioma

One of the worst symptoms of mesothelioma, particularly when the disease has progressed, is pain. Whilst there are many effective pain medications, they often have unpleasant side effects. A new treatment may be able to relieve pain and shrink tumours.


Electrochemotherapy (ECT) involves needle electrodes going into the tumour to deliver electrical impulses. The electricity causes a temporary defect to the cell membrane which changes the permeability of cell membranes.

It is thought that this change to the cell membranes allows chemotherapy drugs to more easily enter the tumour cells and so results in the chemotherapy being more effective.

Researchers in Italy have found that every patient who received electrochemotherapy reported a reduction in their pain and in most cases their tumour growth had slowed or even stopped.

Hope for the future

These results are extremely promising for the future. Any treatment that can make chemotherapy more effective for mesothelioma is fantastic news.

If you require assistance in pursuing an asbestos compensation claim for mesothelioma or other asbestos disease then please contact us today on our freephone number 0800 038 6767. Alternatively, head over to the ‘Contact Us’ page, complete the form and we will be in touch.



Ranieri, G, et al, “Local treatment with deep percutaneous electrochemotherapy of different tumor lesions: pain relief and objective response results from an observational study”, July 2020, European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences, pp. 7764 – 7775,

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