How can I be sure if I have Mesothelioma?
Most doctors are alerted to the possibility of Mesothelioma by identifying symptoms and a patient’s exposure to asbestos. Diagnosing the disease can be problematic at first because the symptoms are common to many diseases.
After identifying symptoms, typically x-rays of the chest or abdomen are ordered along with lung function tests. CAT scans and MRIs can be helpful to obtain precise images of the affected areas. To confirm the existence of Mesothelioma, a biopsy is needed.
To perform the biopsy if the Mesothelioma is in the chest, the doctor may perform a thoracoscopy. This is where the physician cuts through the chest wall and inserts a tiny lighted tube into the chest. Using the “thoracosope” the doctor can view the inside of the chest area and take tissue samples.
Similarly, when the cancer is in the abdomen, the doctor may utilize a procedure called a peritoneoscopy. The doctor uses a peritoneoscope to enter the abdomen and obtain a sample of the affected tissue.
If Thoracoscopy or Peritoneoscopy don’t work, more invasive diagnostic surgery may be required. To determine a therapy, the physician will attempt to learn the stage of the disease and try to discover whether the disease has spread throughout the body. When the Mesothelioma is localized it is only found in the originating tissues. When “advanced”, the disease may have spread beyond the original tissues to other parts of the body, such as the chest wall, abdominal organs or lymph glands.