3 Uncommon Mesothelioma Symptoms Veterans Should Know

2 Min Read

Patient describes symptoms to nurse

Millions of U.S. veterans were exposed to asbestos while serving their country, putting them at risk of a rare cancer called mesothelioma.

Common symptoms of mesothelioma, like a cough and shortness of breath, are often mistaken for less serious conditions. Knowing some of the uncommon signs of mesothelioma can help veterans seek timely care and pursue a diagnosis.

Rare mesothelioma warning signs include:

  1. Shoulder pain
  2. Horner’s syndrome
  3. Night sweats

Learn about these warning signs and how the Mesothelioma Veterans Center can help connect veterans with medical specialists and financial assistance.

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1. Shoulder Pain

Mild to moderate shoulder pain is a possible sign of mesothelioma, especially for those with mesothelioma that starts in the lung lining (pleural mesothelioma).

Did you know?

In a 2015 study, 14% of pleural mesothelioma patients experienced shoulder pain as their first symptom.

A buildup of pressure in the lung lining puts a strain on the chest cavity, causing discomfort in other areas of the body like the shoulder. However, this does not mean that the cancer has spread.

Cancer-related shoulder pain tends to be mild, but some people with mesothelioma may experience decreased shoulder mobility as well.

2. Horner’s Syndrome

Horner’s syndrome is a condition marked by a droopy eyelid and decreased pupil size on one side of the face. It is possible for mesothelioma tumors to obstruct nerve pathways and cause Horner’s syndrome to develop.

Horner’s syndrome symptoms include:

  • Delayed pupil dilation in dim light
  • Drooping eyelid
  • Elevation of the lower lid
  • Eye appearing sunken
  • Little or no facial sweating
  • Smaller pupil size

One 63-year-old patient went to the hospital with arm and back pain along with Horner’s syndrome symptoms on his left side. He was later diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma.

Need help finding a specialist for your mesothelioma diagnosis and treatment? Our on-staff nurses can help. Contact us at (877) 450-8973 now.

3. Night Sweats

Night sweats may be an early indication of cancers like mesothelioma.

With mesothelioma, night sweats are caused by the immune system’s response to cancer. The body tries to fight cancer in the same way it responds to the flu: by increasing body temperature and causing a fever.

Excessive sweating can occur at any time during the day, not just at night. Unfortunately, since night sweats come on suddenly and pass quickly, most people don’t think that they’re cause for concern until other symptoms develop.

Get Help Diagnosing Uncommon Mesothelioma Warning Signs

If you are a veteran with a history of asbestos exposure, it’s important to keep an eye out for these uncommon signs as well as other mesothelioma symptoms.

This can help you pursue an early mesothelioma diagnosis and access life-extending treatments when the cancer is easier to treat.

Remember, you don’t have to do this alone. The Mesothelioma Veterans Center is here to help.

Get a Free Veterans Packet today to find information about mesothelioma symptoms, diagnostic tests, and treatments.

Veterans Support Team
Christopher Dryfoos PhotoWritten by:

Contributing Author

Christopher Dryfoos is a journalist and member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA). As the grandson of the U.S. Navy’s first forensic pathologist, he aims to help veterans with mesothelioma access needed care.

  1. Mayo Clinic. (2022). Horner syndrome. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/horner-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20373547. Accessed on September 19, 2023.
  2. Medical News Today. (2018). Does cancer cause night sweats? Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/314008. Accessed on September 19, 2023.
  3. Medical News Today. (2023). The link between lung cancer and shoulder pain. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/316346. Accessed on September 19, 2023.
  4. Minami, T., Matsumoto, K., Aizawa, H., Nakano, H., Sugio, K., Nakashima, Y., & Hara, N. (1999). Nihon Kokyuki Gakkai zasshi = the journal of the Japanese Respiratory Society. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10390966/. Accessed on September 19, 2023.
  5. Lorkowski, J., Grzegorowska, O., Kotela, A., Weryński, W., & Kotela, I. (2015). Shoulder ring complaints as a rare first symptom of malignant pleural mesothelioma. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25724794/. Accessed on September 19, 2023.