Diagnosing a disease is a complex process that requires healthcare professionals to ensure accurate and precise identification to initiate prompt treatment. Many illnesses exhibit similar symptoms, making it crucial to identify the distinguishing factor that sets them apart. This is why doctors strive to be as thorough as possible when working with patients.
Therefore when presenting a case of mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer, it is important to be prepared for the possibility of undergoing multiple tests to diagnose the condition accurately. Detecting mesothelioma is challenging as its symptoms often develop gradually. It requires a thorough evaluation by a doctor to identify the disease. So, how exactly is mesothelioma diagnosed? Let’s delve into the details you should be aware of.
What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that occurs due to prolonged asbestos exposure. During the 20th century, asbestos-laden products were heavily used in the military and construction. Therefore, if a person served on active duty or worked with asbestos-rich products, there’s a chance to have interacted with these microscopic fibers. Asbestos takes time to build up in the body, and eventually, these symptoms appear. This is a type of tumor that grows in your lungs, stomach, genitals, or heart due to asbestos. Like any cancer, mesothelioma is painful and expensive to treat. But there is a way out. Legally, mesothelioma is recognized as a type of personal injury. If you test positive for mesothelioma, you can claim what is yours by filing a lawsuit against the company that got you sick in the first place.
To do this, you must contact a reputable legal entity like Simmons Law Firm, which specializes in handling mesothelioma cases. Most of these lawsuits end in settlement cases, which results in a massive financial win for you. This money can be used to treat your illness and access services like physical therapy and post-operation care that can boost your overall well-being.
How is Mesothelioma Diagnosed?
Mesothelioma is a complex disease to diagnose. This is because most symptoms that mesothelioma exhibits closely resemble lung cancer, which can mislead doctors and cause them to treat you for lung cancer alone. Therefore, to ensure this doesn’t happen when you go in for a checkup, a doctor may carry out several exams to conclusively deduce if you have mesothelioma; here’s how:
A Doctor Will Ask You Questions Related to Your Symptoms
When you see a doctor, the first thing these medical professionals do is ask about your ailments. Questioning allows the doctor to gain greater insight into what you have. They will want to know when you experienced these ailments, what symptoms you noticed, and how long it has been going on. A doctor may extend their line of questioning and ask about your family history and occupation to further narrow down where you may have contracted this disease. For instance, if you have chest pain, your doctor may ask when you first felt pain, how intense the pressure is, and how long it radiates in your chest. Depending on your answers, a doctor will follow up with questions to get closer to diagnosing mesothelioma.
You May Go Through A Physical Evaluation
A physical evaluation involves inspecting your body to check for unusual lumps or warning signs that may inform the doctor what you have. A medical professional will look for rashes, scabs, or wounds that can further help them come up with a diagnosis. In some cases, your doctor may order you to undergo an image scan or a chest X-ray to examine your internal organs. You may also get instructed to get complete blood work done to ensure there is nothing out of the ordinary in your bloodstream. A doctor may use a stethoscope on you to check your heart rate and lung capacity. Using this medical apparatus allows the medical professional to pick up if your lungs are functioning as they should or if you’re struggling to breathe.
Get Scheduled For a Biopsy
A biopsy involves extracting a small amount of fluid or retrieving a tissue sample to examine it further and determine if you have cancer cells present. Biopsies are highly accurate and recommended by most doctors if you have a history of asbestos exposure. However, a biopsy is an umbrella term. A medical professional will guide you best on the kind of biopsy you may require; these are as follows:
- Fine Needle Biopsy. A fine needle biopsy is an invasive examination involving retrieving a small piece of tissue or fluid through a fine needle, which may be inserted into your chest or abdomen.
- Surgical Biopsy. During a surgical biopsy, a surgeon may use a scalpel to open the area they want to examine closely and take a tissue sample from the lump they see. If the lump is small, they may remove it entirely and use it to gauge your ailment.
- Bronchoscopy. This is a procedure in which a long, thin tube is inserted into your nose and mouth while guided by a small video camera. This examination aims to get a sample for testing from your trachea or lungs.
- Laparoscopy. A laparoscopy is a procedure in which surgeons use a long, thin tube connected to a video camera to examine your abdominal cavity and collect a tissue sample through a small incision.
How to Determine The Extent of the Cancer
After you test positive for mesothelioma, the doctor may ask you to go through additional tests to understand the extent of your condition. This includes CT scans of the chest and abdomen and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of your body; in some cases, you may need a positron emission tomography (PET) scan. Once your results are in, a doctor can classify what stage your cancer is in to design a treatment plan for you.
If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of mesothelioma, a painful and terminal disease, it is crucial to undergo testing. Diagnosing mesothelioma is a comprehensive process involving various tests and examinations to evaluate your body thoroughly. By cooperating with your doctor and completing biopsies, scans, and imaging tests, you can help ensure an accurate diagnosis. Misdiagnosis can be extremely dangerous, so going through the hassle of these tests is essential for doctors to determine your condition and develop an effective treatment plan conclusively.