Mesothelioma could show up on a CT scan, or computed tomography scan, especially if the CT scan is intentionally trying to look for it. The Journal of Thoracic Disease indicates that not only does mesothelioma show up on a CT scan, but it is the preferred diagnostic tool of choice for advanced stage mesothelioma cases.
CT scans create cross-sectional images of your body and can provide enough detail to see where the cancer is, the size of the cancer, and whether the cancer spread to other nearby organs. Over the course of chemotherapy treatment, CT scans help determine if the chemotherapy worked to stop the cancer’s growth.
Ways to Diagnose Mesothelioma
There are many different ways to diagnose mesothelioma that your doctor may use, such as:
- Physical exams
- Risk assessments, including asbestos
- Chest X-rays to look for abnormal thickening or calcium deposits
- CT scans to identify the location of the cancer
- Ultrasounds of the heart, known as an echocardiogram, to look for fluid and heart performance
- PET scan that looks for scar tissue using radioactive sugar put into the blood
- MRI scan to show size and severity of the tumor
- Blood tests that look for high levels of fibulin-3 and soluble mesothelin-related peptides
- Thoracentesis tests that remove fluid from the chest
- Paracentesis tests that remove fluid from your stomach
- Pericardiocentesis tests that remove fluid from the sac around your heart
- Needle biopsies that remove a sample of cells from the tumor
- Endoscopic biopsies that use a small video camera to look inside your body
- Pulmonary function tests that measure your lung function
These are just some of the ways that doctors diagnose mesothelioma. In all likelihood, your doctor would use a combination of a few of these diagnostic measures to diagnose and stage mesothelioma. There are other tools that your doctor could use throughout the process to identify the cancer and to see how serious it is.
Mesothelioma Survival Rates
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, there is not an acceptable way to detect mesothelioma early without an invasive procedure. In some cases, people do not diagnose their mesothelioma until symptoms develop at a later stage of the disease; however, mesothelioma can show up on a CT scan. It may be possible to detect earlier stages of mesothelioma on a CT scan with low doses of radiation for asymptomatic patients.
Even so, the survival rates for patients diagnosed with mesothelioma are not high. Researchers hope that with advances in treatments and technology, the five-year outcomes will continue to improve over time.
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Symptoms of Mesothelioma
There are a few different types of mesothelioma, including pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma, and pericardial mesothelioma. The symptoms may vary depending on the type of mesothelioma you have. Some symptoms to look out for include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Hoarse voice
- Facial or arm swelling
- Heart murmur
- Abdominal pain
- Unexplained weight loss
This is not a comprehensive list of mesothelioma symptoms. If you experience any unexplained symptoms, it is a good idea to make an appointment with your doctor for a thorough evaluation. It is better to catch any form of cancer earlier, when treatment is more likely to be effective.
Statute of Limitations
Mesothelioma takes many years or decades after asbestos exposure to develop, and this exposure to asbestos may be the fault of another party, such as an employer. This makes it difficult to enforce a statute of limitations that is a few years away from your exposure. There are state and federal laws in place that enable you to seek compensation decades after your exposure. Generally, you need to wait until you have a diagnosis to seek legal action.
Some companies established trust funds to help pay for the settlements for asbestos cases, according to Reuters. The awards from these cases can vary.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is not too late to discuss what happened and possible options for legal recourse with a lawyer. Asbestos exposure is directly linked to mesothelioma. If you are diagnosed with this form of cancer, it is likely due to exposure. We can conduct a thorough assessment to see where your asbestos exposure likely occurred.
Prompt treatment is important for mesothelioma outcomes. Treatment often includes chemotherapy, surgery to remove lesions, radiation, and medications. Some types of mesothelioma may not be candidates for surgery, as the procedure may not be as effective.
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If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you could be entitled to compensation related to your exposure to asbestos. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 794-0444 to learn more about your options. We can provide a free consultation for you to discuss what happened and your concerns.