While you can be tested for mesothelioma, doctors will generally only order these tests if you have a history of asbestos exposure and symptoms that lead them to believe there may be something wrong. This is because there is no one test to diagnose this asbestos-related cancer.
Mesothelioma is often difficult to diagnose and may require a number of tests to confirm the diagnosis, according to The Ochsner Journal. Some of these tests may be invasive and cause additional pain and complications. Because of this, and because mesothelioma rarely shows significant symptoms until it is already at an advanced stage, it is rarely diagnosed early enough to respond to treatment.
Several Tests May Be Necessary To Confirm a Mesothelioma Diagnosis
If your doctor believes you may have mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer, you may undergo numerous tests to confirm or rule out these conditions. According to the Journal of Thoracic Disease, this may include:
The initial tests for mesothelioma generally include imaging scans to get a general idea of what may be happening inside your chest. This may include a chest X-ray, computerized tomography (CT) scans, and/or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These tests may make it possible to identify:
- Buildup of fluid around the lungs (pleural effusion)
- Swelling in the chest cavity or lymph nodes nearby
- Abnormalities in the soft tissues in the chest cavity
In general, MRI scans are more detailed than X-rays or CT scans, but there are some reasons why they may not be a good option for everyone. Some people undergo X-rays and an MRI or another combination of imaging scans during the initial screening of their condition.
A bronchoscopy offers a way for the doctor to see inside your airway. During this type of screening procedure, the doctor feeds a special tool into your airway. There is a camera attached so they can see any blockages or abnormal tissues. In addition, they can take small samples of tissue to biopsy. They may want to send them to the hospital’s lab to look for cancer cells.
This procedure may require you to stay in the hospital for one night, or you could go home the same day. The results should come from the lab in a few days if your doctor took a biopsy.
A final confirmation of mesothelioma and staging the cancer may require a surgical procedure. There are generally two ways this occurs: thoracoscopy or laparoscopy.
During both procedures, you are under general anesthesia. Both require a small incision and sometimes several small incisions. The surgeon will insert a tiny camera into the incision and use miniature forceps to take a small sample for biopsy. The lab can then test this tissue for cancer cells.
If your doctor believes you have mesothelioma in your chest cavity, they may order a thoracoscopy, while a laparoscopy looks inside the abdomen.
Routine Mesothelioma Screenings May Make Early Diagnosis More Likely
While it takes several steps to be tested for mesothelioma, it may be possible to rule out the condition quickly. This may be key in helping those with occupational exposure get an earlier diagnosis and perhaps have better treatment options than those who receive a later diagnosis.
According to the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, some doctors believe it is beneficial to perform regular screening tests for signs of mesothelioma for patients who are at an increased risk, such as those with an occupational exposure to asbestos. These screening tests may include:
- Chest X-rays
- CT scans
- Other screenings for difficulty breathing or other signs of mesothelioma
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A Mesothelioma Diagnosis May Support Financial Recovery
Asbestos companies continued to get rich for decades on the backs of workers who continued to breathe in asbestos fibers. If you were one of these workers, you may be able to secure a financial recovery based on your work history and your mesothelioma diagnosis. While many asbestos companies filed for bankruptcy, they created and funded asbestos trust funds to pay claims related to their products, according to Reuters.
At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we do not believe your family should have to suffer further damages by having to pay for your treatment and other expenses. Instead, we can take action on your behalf and attempt to hold the asbestos companies responsible. We may be able to secure an award that includes:
- Medical treatment costs
- Pain and suffering and other non-economic damages
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Wrongful death losses
- Other expenses and losses related to your diagnosis and treatment
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm handles asbestos cancer cases on a contingency fee basis. Your family pays nothing upfront for representation from our team. Call (800) 794-0444 now to discuss your options.