Mesothelioma Diagnosis - If an individual has signs or symptoms that may indicate possible mesothelioma, a doctor will begin by giving the patient a thorough physical examination. Unfortunately, there are no universal screenings to detect mesothelioma in the early stages. In most cases, mesothelioma is detected in advanced stages due to the symptoms taking a long time to present themselves.
In the initial examination phase, a doctor will discuss any potential exposure to asbestos whether at home, at work, or if there were any close relatives exposed to asbestos. Also within the initial examination, a doctor will look for various signs or symptoms like fluid buildup or unusual lumps in the chest and abdomen. If a doctor finds any unusual lumps, a biopsy is needed to determine what the lump is. Various imaging tests like x-rays and CT scans may also be used to aid in diagnosing this disease.
Removal of Fluid
Depending on the location of fluid buildup, a doctor will insert a hollow needle and remove the fluid for further examination.
- Thoracentesis: removal of fluid in the chest cavity.
- Paracentesis: removal of fluid in the abdomen.
- Pericardiocentesis: removal of fluid from the sac surrounding the heart.
- Thoracoscopy: A tube with a tiny camera is placed through small incisions between the ribs and a small sample of tissue is taken from the chest region.
- Laparoscopy: A tiny camera is placed into the abdomen region and a small sample of tissue is taken.
- Thoracotomy: A surgical procedure that involves the opening of the chest between the ribs to check for signs of cancer. A tissue sample can be taken for testing as well.
- Laparotomy: A surgical procedure that involves the opening of the abdomen to check for signs of cancer. A tissue sample can be taken for testing as well
- CT Scan: Computer Tomography scan provides a more detailed image of tumors.
- MRI: Magnetic resonance image typically involves a patient laying flat as they enter through a metal cylinder. The cylinder relays information back to a computer that develops an image.
- PET Scan: Positron Emission Tomography scans are often used in conjunction with a CT scan. Involves radioactive material being introduced to the body via an I.V. Helps to determine if the cancer has spread.
- X-Ray: Often the first step in imaging scans as a doctor will take an x-ray of the chest to see if anything else might be causing the symptoms.