How to diagnose mesothelioma?

How to diagnose mesothelioma?

Qualified medical professionals perform mesothelioma diagnosis. A wide range of tests and procedures are done to find out whether the disease is present. Mesothelioma diagnosis is a difficult procedure as the symptoms of mesothelioma are very similar to other benign diseases. This coupled with the fact that mesothelioma has a huge latency period makes patients and their doctors dismiss the symptoms of mesothelioma as signs of ageing. Only after detailed testing because of recurring symptom mesothelioma is confirmed.

Review of medical history of patient

The medical history of the patient will be reviewed in the first place. This is because the doctor will need to determine the extent and the severity of the risk factors and the symptoms of mesothelioma. Also, the doctor can find out the nature of asbestos exposure of the patient, how long and how much they were exposed. One another point the doctor will want to know is whether you were a smoker or not. This is because smokers have a higher risk of contracting mesothelioma as compared to non-smokers.

The doctor will also conduct some preliminary examinations to determine the type of mesothelioma. This can be found out by checking for fluid. When fluid is found in the chest. It is a case of pleural mesothelioma. When fluid is in the abdomen, it is a case of peritoneal mesothelioma and when fluid is in the heart, it is a case of pericardial mesothelioma.

Diagnostic tests:

CT scans, x-rays and MRIs are very useful in determining the spread of the cancer. These diagnostic image tests help to determine the stage of mesothelioma. All the methods are very useful and they help in making a more detailed diagnosis. The CT scans help in getting a 3D view of the inside body parts. Thus, the same part can be viewed from various angles. Unlike x-ray, MRI uses magnetic fields to view the body parts.

Testing fluid and samples of tissues:

In case of mesothelioma, fluid may build up in chest, abdomen or heart. In such cases, the medical professional will take a sample of this fluid and test it. The sample will be drawn via a long needle and then, it will be tested in a laboratory. The doctor in certain cases of mesothelioma may also prescribe a bronchoscopy procedure. Sometimes, certain tissue samples may be taken to perform further testing. Persons having lung cancer or pleural mesothelioma may also have lymph nodes affected by the disease. These patients may be advised to undergo a mediastinoscopy. This procedure helps the doctors to find out how far the disease has affected the lymph nodes. This will help in a better diagnosis of mesothelioma. It will also help in determining the stage of mesothelioma.

Diagnosing mesothelioma is a very complex procedure involving a lot of steps. While the first symptoms are completely misleading, the later symptoms are also not conclusive. Fluid build up in the body organs alone is not a sign of mesothelioma. Only specialized medical personnel in highly specialized laboratories can correctly determine mesothelioma. This is the reason why many mesothelioma cases go undocumented. It is necessary that all countries fund and encourage their researchers and medical professionals to find an easy and simple diagnostic procedure for mesothelioma.


Archana Sarat


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