Peritoneal Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Patients who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma often wonder about the process which led a doctor to the conclusion of cancer and may seek a second opinion, as well as more information about the parts of a mesothelioma diagnosis. Dealing with any form of cancer comes with a wide array of difficulties, but a mesothelioma diagnosis can be especially difficult; the most important factor in the development of this form of cancer is exposure to asbestos over a long period of time, meaning that most of those diagnosed were inhaling deadly asbestos at their workplaces - instead of being kept safe while toiling for a company they were instead breathing in the seeds of an aggressive and pernicious cancer. Fortunately, the process of a mesothelioma diagnosis has improved significantly over the last few years, yielding a better survival rate for patients and a more accurate picture of what the cancer looks like.

An initial mesothelioma diagnosis will typically be made by a primary care physician. Patients who have mesothelioma often present with severe abdominal pain, reduced chest expansion or quieted breathing. In combination with an examination of medical history and the knowledge that a patient has been exposed to asbestos, a doctor may form the initial conclusion of mesothelioma. Because asbestos is the number one causal factor in the development of mesothelioma, it is crucial that any exposure to this chemical be reported during a physical exam.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Tests

Once a potential diagnosis has been made, a number of tests can be conducted in order to confirm that mesothelioma is in fact the cause of a patent's symptoms. Typically, these tests will be conducted by a pulmonologist or oncologist who has specialized training in the area of mesothelioma, allowing them to determine the both the severity of the caner and its stage. Imaging scans such as CT scans, MRIs and X-rays can all be used as a way to gather data on a potential tumor, but specialists will typically order a biopsy as well. A biopsy collects tissue or fluid samples and then examines them for the presence of cancer cells - a standard biopsy is considered to be 80 percent conclusive. Thorascopy, a form of biopsy in which a long needle is inserted into the chest cavity, can be up to 98 percent conclusive. There is also research currently being conducted into the use of blood samples to test for mesothelioma cancer markers, but this diagnostic method has not yet been perfected.

A diagnosis of mesothelioma comes from a number of sources including a physical exam, medical history and possibility of asbestos exposure. In combination with laboratory tests, this form of cancer can be accurately identified not only by type but also by stage. The earlier such a diagnosis is made, the greater the chances that standard treatments such as surgery or chemotherapy will be effective. If you'd like to know more about mesothelioma diagnosis and what it means for you, contact us today for a free information package.