Diagnosing Mesothelioma: The Procedures & Diagnostic Tests Used to Diagnose MesotheliomaAugust 14, 2017
Mesothelioma is notoriously challenging to diagnose. This is largely due to the facts that:
- Mesothelioma symptoms can be latent and/or generic in early stages, making it more likely for the condition to be misdiagnosed.
- No single test can definitively detect mesothelioma. Instead, a series of procedures and tests are typically needed to definitively diagnose mesothelioma (and rule out other conditions).
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The Mesothelioma Diagnostic Process: 4 Steps to Diagnosing Mesothelioma
To determine whether a patient has mesothelioma, doctors typically proceed with:
- A symptom evaluation – Doctors will ask what symptoms a patient is experiencing to evaluate whether those symptoms match up with the common signs of mesothelioma, which can include (but may not be limited to):
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Weight loss and/or loss of appetite
- A medical history evaluation – When a patient is experiencing symptoms like those associated with mesothelioma, the next step will be to assess certain details of his or her medical history. This evaluation can provide more context for the symptoms a patient is experiencing, and it may include assessing factors like (but not necessarily limited to):
- The duration and intensity of the symptoms
- The patient’s lifestyle habits
- Personal and/or family history of cancer
- Potential routes of asbestos exposure (like whether a patient has worked with or around asbestos fibers for a significant period of time).
- Noninvasive imaging tests – When the previous assessments indicate a potential for mesothelioma, doctors may move forward with certain types of imaging tests to see whether the plaques and tumors associated with mesothelioma are present on the linings of the lungs, heart and/or abdomen. These noninvasive tests can include (but may not be limited to):
- CT and PET scans
- Invasive diagnostic tests – When imaging tests reveal suspicious cells or tissues on the lungs, heart and/or abdomen, the final step in the diagnostic process will be more invasive testing to determine whether cancerous cells are present. Invasive testing methods generally involve the insertion of scopes to closely look at suspect cells and/or the use of other tools to collect tissue samples (which are then tested for malignancies). These invasive diagnostic tests can include (and may not be limited to):
- Thoracoscopy, the insertion of a thin scope through a chest incision
- Cytology tests, which involves collecting and testing samples of bodily fluid
- Biopsy, which involves collecting and testing samples of cells or tissues.
When these steps result in a definitive diagnosis of mesothelioma, various treatments may be necessary to fight the malignancy and relieve the painful symptoms.
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As you pursue medical treatments for mesothelioma, a mesothelioma lawyer at the Amaro Law Firm can help you with the legal recovery process.
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