Mesothelioma develops after a person gets exposed to asbestos. However, mesothelioma does not develop immediately. It can take decades for mesothelioma to develop after asbestos exposure. Unfortunately, once mesothelioma has developed, it progresses fast. Because mesothelioma symptoms mimic those of other illnesses, it is often not detected early. Most times, mesothelioma is diagnosed when it has reached advanced stages. Unfortunately, in the advanced stages, mesothelioma prognosis becomes more unfavorable because of limited treatment options. Early detection is crucial to have a favorable mesothelioma prognosis. So, if you or a loved one has signs and symptoms that might indicate a possible case of mesothelioma, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. A doctor will use physical examination and tests to check for mesothelioma. Read on for more on how mesothelioma is diagnosed.
The Mesothelioma Diagnosis Process
If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms that might indicate mesothelioma, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Your family doctor might not be able to test for mesothelioma, but they are a good place to start. Your family doctor can refer you to a specialist.
The first step of the mesothelioma diagnosis process is the patient disclosing their medical history to their doctor. Medical history helps provide more information about the patient’s symptoms and possible risk factors, especially asbestos exposure. A thorough review of known or likely sources of asbestos exposure ensures a doctor considers mesothelioma as a potential cause of symptoms. It helps doctors conduct specific tests that can help confirm the presence of mesothelioma.
After a patient discloses their medical history and the doctor thoroughly reviews it, the next step is conducting a physical examination. Doctors conduct physical exams to look for signs of mesothelioma. A physical examination can help a doctor determine if there is fluid build-up in the abdomen (ascites), around the lungs in the chest (pleural effusion), or around the sac around the heart (pericardial effusion). For example, a doctor can listen to the lungs using a stethoscope or tap on the chest or belly.
The doctor will perform more tests if the medical history and physical examination results suggest a patient might have mesothelioma. A doctor may order, among other tests, a chest x-ray, CT scan, echocardiogram, PET scan, and an MRI scan.
If symptoms, medical history, physical exam results, and test results suggest a person has mesothelioma, a diagnosis will be made by taking cells from the body and examining them in the laboratory under a microscope. This is known as a biopsy. This procedure is the only way to determine if someone has mesothelioma. The right biopsy for a patient depends on the affected area. Options may include inserting a needle through the skin and collecting a tissue or fluid sample during surgery.
Once mesothelioma is confirmed, more tests may be recommended to understand if the cancer has spread to other body parts. The information from these tests allows the doctor to assign the cancer a stage. Once mesothelioma has been confirmed and a stage assigned, a doctor selects the right treatment for the patient.
Nationwide Mesothelioma Lawyers
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced nationwide mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.