If you present with symptoms that could be mesothelioma, particularly if you have a history of asbestos exposure, your doctor will want to conduct tests. These tests can confirm or rule out mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other types of asbestos-related illnesses.
Your doctor will likely listen to your chest and conduct a physical exam. Then, they will order medical imaging to take a look at what is happening in and around your lungs. This may include a chest X-ray and computerized tomography (CT) scan. If they find fluid in your chest cavity, signs of nodules on the outside of your lungs, or a possible tumor in your lungs, they will most likely want to do a biopsy to confirm your diagnosis.
A Biopsy Is Necessary to Get an Accurate Mesothelioma Diagnosis
How is mesothelioma diagnosed? While medical imaging can give the doctor a better idea about whether you may have a proliferation of diffuse cells growing on the pleural lining of your chest cavity and lungs indicating mesothelioma, they will need to conduct a biopsy. This medical procedure will remove some of the cells to test for this type of cancer.
Because mesothelioma is generally diagnosed at an advanced stage, it is often confused for asbestos-related lung cancers that require a different treatment plan. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are several ways in which a surgeon can remove tissue to test for mesothelioma cells. Options include:
- Removing fluid or tissue using a long needle inserted through the skin, possibly with help from computerized tomography (CT) guidance
- Using a tube and camera inserted through a small incision in the chest
- Collecting a sample during open surgery
Once the doctor has the sample, it is sent to the laboratory where trained technicians will view it under a microscope to determine if it is mesothelioma. This will confirm your diagnosis.
More Tests May Occur to Stage Your Cancer and Learn More About Its Spread
Determining the severity of your cancer and seeing if it has spread beyond the initial area where it developed is called staging your mesothelioma. This often requires additional procedures and testing. It is vital to understand the areas of your body affected by malignant mesothelioma to put the best treatment plan possible in place and to make educated decisions about your care.
Additional procedures and tests required for staging may include:
- Removing local lymph nodes to test for signs of the disease
- Additional CT scans of the chest and abdomen
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scans
Once these tests are complete and your doctor has a better idea of how your mesothelioma is affecting your body, they will assign a stage to your cancer. Stages range from I to IV, with each stage having several sub-stages. The lower the stage, the more localized the cancerous cells.
While mesothelioma has a low overall five-year survival rate, those with stage one disease have a much better chance of living for several years with a higher quality of life than those diagnosed with mesothelioma when their cancer is already stage IV.
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A Mesothelioma Diagnosis May Allow You to Pursue an Award to Pay for Your Treatment and Other Damages
Almost all cases of mesothelioma occur because of asbestos exposure, often in the workplace. If you have a known exposure to asbestos fibers and now have a mesothelioma diagnosis, you may be able to join hundreds of thousands of others who already joined a mass tort and received a settlement or award to help pay for their treatment, care, pain and suffering, and other losses.
If you developed cancer or another serious medical condition as a result of asbestos exposure, your family should not have to pay for your treatment and other expenses. The asbestos companies that caused your exposure and profited from your work should be held responsible. This may be possible by filing a claim or a lawsuit.
At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, our asbestos cancer attorneys know how to pursue a settlement or award in this type of case. If you reach out to us, you can receive:
- A free case review and initial consultation
- A better understanding of your rights and legal options
- A chance to ask questions and voice your concerns with an attorney who regularly handles these cases
Our lawyers do not shy away from tough cases. If we decide to work together, we will pursue an award on your behalf, and you will pay nothing up front. We will take our attorney’s fees from the settlement we recover for you. If we do not get an award for you and your family, we do not get paid.
Discuss Your Case With a Mesothelioma Asbestos Cancer Attorney
Call (800) 794-0444 now for your free case review.