Does Mesothelioma Show Up on a PET Scan?
If you are being evaluated for cancer, your care provider may have you take a PET scan. According to research published by the Journal of Thoracic Medicine, mesothelioma shows up on a PET scan because they are extremely sensitive.
A PET (positron emission tomography) scan uses a radioactive tracer to indicate higher levels of chemical activity. These scans are so sensitive that they can detect small amounts of cancer cells located just about anywhere in your body. This imaging test is one of the primary ways of detecting, identifying, and monitoring mesothelioma as well as other types of cancer.
Types of Mesothelioma
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are multiple types of mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma develops in the pleura, which is the area around your lungs, and may be closely related to lung cancer. This is the most common type of mesothelioma, appearing in more than 80% of patients.
Pleural mesothelioma also has some of the most direct signs that become visible early in the onset of the disease, such as difficulty breathing and similar lung-related issues. Pleural mesothelioma can cause fluid build-up around the lungs, which makes it harder to breathe. Most cases appear in patients above the age of 60, although it can appear at any age.
Another type of mesothelioma is peritoneal mesothelioma, which develops in the lining around your abdomen. It only appears in 15% of patients and can have similar symptoms as pleural mesothelioma. It also tends to develop at a slightly younger age, although it is rare to find a case where a person younger than 50 has peritoneal mesothelioma.
There are other types of mesothelioma, but their occurrence rate is so low that they are rarely focused on when discussing the topic. For example, testicular mesothelioma is so rare that there are only about 100 confirmed cases on record. Regardless, it is important to check for these types of mesothelioma if you suspect that you have been exposed to something that would cause it.
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Treatment Options for Mesothelioma
The treatment method for mesothelioma depends on the type you have and how far it has progressed. Benign mesothelioma keeps cancer cells tightly grouped into tumors that are not spreading throughout your body. If you have benign mesothelioma, a simple surgery may be able to remove all the cancer cells. Once the tumors are removed, follow-up treatments are needed to ensure that the cells are gone and your condition is improving.
Once mesothelioma begins to spread throughout your body, it will require a different type of treatment. The most common options are chemotherapy and radiation therapy. You have likely heard of chemotherapy in TV and movies, or you know someone who has gone through it. Essentially, chemotherapy uses specialized medications to target and destroy body cells as they reproduce. This is the most vulnerable time for a cell—with the proper medications, these cells can be killed before they successfully make new copies.
Chemotherapy can affect every cell in your body but will likely have a bigger impact on mesothelioma cells. Cancer cells reproduce at a much higher rate than other types of cells, which means they are vulnerable more often and can be killed off at a faster rate. By filling the body with the right medications, you can attack mesothelioma cells no matter where they are. Radiation therapy takes a similar approach but uses focused radiation to target mesothelioma cells and kill them before they can reproduce.
Medical Expenses for Mesothelioma
One of the main reasons why mesothelioma victims decide to take legal action is because of their medical expenses. Medical treatment for mesothelioma can be extremely expensive, even with high-quality health insurance. Many victims end up going into serious financial debt. Filing a lawsuit for compensation can help victims pay off their medical bills and avoid long-term financial problems.
Some of the common medical expenses for mesothelioma treatment include hospital stays, specialist care, diagnostic testing, and specialized treatment options. Chemotherapy in particular is a lengthy process that can rapidly generate a lot of different expenses. Even surgery can have a high price tag. Combined with advanced diagnostic testing and other costs, you will likely be looking at extensive medical expenses.
Settlement vs. Trial
If you were unknowingly exposed to asbestos, you have the option of trying to seek compensation from the company that made the building or facility, the property owner who owns it, or the employer that provided unsafe working conditions for your development of mesothelioma. It may be a tough case to make considering the length of time that likely passed between your exposure and you developing mesothelioma. However, it is possible to make a viable case. It is in your best interest to work with a lawyer who can develop your case and manage the legal process on your behalf.
If you successfully file a lawsuit against a company, property owner, or another party for the asbestos exposure that caused your mesothelioma, it may take a long time for your case to go to trial. There is also a significant chance that you will be offered a settlement agreement to end the lawsuit quickly. This can be a benefit or a drawback depending on your situation.
Some victims benefit from settlement agreements because they can negotiate the amount of compensation they will receive and get a faster end to the lawsuit. Ending a lawsuit and collecting compensation sooner means they can handle financial problems and get their lives back on track. However, one major drawback is that victims may not be able to negotiate the same amount of compensation they could have been awarded at trial. Discuss your case with your lawyer before accepting any settlement agreements to make sure that the potential trade-off still leaves you in a good position.
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Mesothelioma does show up on a PET scan, which is why so many cases are identified this way. If you or a loved one developed mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos, you may be able to recover compensation for your medical expenses and other losses. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 307-3113 for a free consultation with a member of our team.