Mesothelioma is a hard cancer to diagnose. Because of its rarity, symptoms are so similar to a number of other conditions that misdiagnosis often occurs. As with all other diseases, the diagnosis of mesothelioma begins with a patient's disclosure of past medical history. If a history of asbestos exposure is disclosed, there may be a chance the physician may request for further testing for the appropriate illness based upon his or her clinical suspicion for mesothelioma.
Physicians may request further testing in the form of X-Rays, CT scans or MRIs. An X-Ray may reveal pleural thickening and increase a physician's suspicion of mesothelioma. Finding pleural thickening is a common sign of asbestos exposure. If results of an X-Ray, CT scan or MRI show a considerable amount of fluid in the affected lungs, physicians may request the fluids be aspirated by a syringe or through a chest tube (thoracostomy). If the standard procedures do not provide enough affected tissue to test, more extensive diagnostic surgical measures may be required.
There are three histological types of malignant mesothelioma:
- Biphasic (a mix of Sacromatoid and Epithelioid)
Nearly 50 to 60 percent of malignant mesothelioma cases are epithelioid. A diagnosis of an epithelioid yields a better prognosis than that of sacromatoid and biphasic types. Physicians have been testing the Mesomark assay which measures for levels of soluble mesothelin proteins released by the affected mesothelioma cells. Mesothelioma is usually followed by the staging process. The staging determines how advanced the cancer is and is helpful knowledge when determining a treatment plan.
It is vital that any and all asbestos exposure is reported to your physician in order to receive the necessary health care attention. Many people fail to disclose this information with their physicians and later are diagnosed with mesothelioma when it was too late in its developmental stages or even post-mortem.
We have compiled a list of specialized cancer treatment centers and can provide you assistance in locating the medical facilities where you can get the appropriate treatment for your mesothelioma-specific needs.