Mesothelioma victims often obtain the wrong diagnosis. The reason is mesothelioma is rare and symptoms are not specific to the disease. For example, because pericardial mesothelioma can cause fluid build-up, pericardial mesothelioma victims will sometimes be given a pneumonia diagnosis. In addition, since pleural mesothelioma usually causes tumors to develop around the lungs, people with pleural mesothelioma are sometimes misdiagnosed with lung cancer.
To assist in reaching the correct diagnosis, people who suspect they may have mesothelioma should disclose their work history and any past asbestos exposure to their doctors. Exposure to asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma. In addition, asbestos exposure commonly occurs at work, especially in shipyards and at construction sites.
While a mesothelioma diagnosis is serious, many different treatment options are available. Most treatments are effective with early-stage mesothelioma but become less effective as mesothelioma progresses. Accordingly, it is important that mesothelioma victims obtain the correct diagnosis as early as possible.
How a Mesothelioma Diagnosis is Reached
While there are three different types of mesothelioma, every mesothelioma diagnosis usually begins with a patient reporting symptoms to a doctor. Since mesothelioma symptoms are not unique, knowing the symptoms, without more, is typically not enough for a doctor to reach a mesothelioma diagnosis. As a result, doctors will need to investigate further to reach a diagnosis.
To determine the correct diagnosis, a doctor will start by performing some preliminary tests. First, a doctor will review a patient’s medical history, including past asbestos exposure. Next, the doctor will perform a physical exam. Finally, the doctor will probably take x-rays, perform a lung function test, and may perform a CT scan or MRI. If any of those tests prove suspicious for mesothelioma, a biopsy will need to be performed to confirm the diagnosis.
Mesothelioma Diagnosis Blood Test
A new blood test for mesothelioma diagnosis, called Mesomark, is now available. According to researchers, this blood test can detect proteins released into the blood stream by mesothelioma cancer cells. While it is still too early to know whether this blood test is accurate, the FDA has already approved Mesomark for the purposes of helping doctors determine how rapidly mesothelioma is progressing and whether the correct treatment is being administered.
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