How do you get tested for mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is most often diagnosed after a person goes to a doctor because of symptomsthey are having. If there is a reason to suspect you might have mesothelioma, your doctor will examine you and use one or more tests to find out. Symptoms might suggest that the problem could be mesothelioma, but tests will be needed to confirm the diagnosis.
The diagnostic process for pleural mesothelioma incorporates numerous tests and requires the close cooperation of a diverse team of medical experts. While most patients first meet with a general practitioner, their diagnosis can involve the expertise of radiologists, surgeons, oncologists, pathologists, pulmonologists and others.
These additional specialists can be necessary because this form of cancer is so challenging to diagnose, even for highly qualified oncologists. Symptoms rarely appear until the disease has entered its later stages, and even then they are hard to distinguish from the signs of more common respiratory illnesses. Many patients with pleural mesothelioma don’t experience symptoms until the cancer is in later stages of development.
Medical history and physical exam on mesothelioma diagnosis
If you have any signs or symptoms that suggest you might have mesothelioma, your doctor will want to get your medical history to learn about your symptoms and possible risk factors, especially asbestos exposure so how is mesothelioma diagnosed
A physical exam can provide information about possible signs of mesothelioma and other health problems. Pleural mesothelioma can cause fluid to build up around the lungs in the chest (called a pleural effusion). In cases of peritoneal mesothelioma, fluid can build up in the abdomen (called ascites).Mesothelioma diagnosis
If mesothelioma is a possibility, tests will be needed to make sure. These might include imaging tests, blood tests, and other procedures.Mesothelioma diagnosis
Imaging tests use x-rays, radioactive particles, sound waves, or magnetic fields to create pictures of the inside of your body. NImaging tests might be done for a number of reasons, such as:
- look at suspicious areas that might be cancer
- To learn how far cancer has spread
- It helps to determine if treatment is working
People thought to have mesothelioma may have one or more of these tests.Mesothelioma diagnosis
This is often the first test done if someone has symptoms such as a constant cough or shortness of breath. Findings that might suggest mesothelioma include an abnormal thickening of the pleura, calcium deposits on the pleura, fluid in the space between the lungs and the chest wall, or changes in the lungs themselves as a result of asbestos exposure.Mesothelioma diagnosis
Computed tomography (CT) scan
The CT scan uses x-rays to make detailed cross-sectional images of your body. Instead of taking one picture, like a regular x-ray, a CT scanner takes many pictures as it rotates around you while you are lying on a narrow table. A computer then combines these into images of slices of the body.Mesothelioma diagnosis
This test uses sound waves to look at the heart. It may be done if your doctor suspects that you have fluid around your heart (a pericardial effusion). Mesothelioma diagnosis This test can also tell how well the heart is working.
Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
For a PET scan, a radioactive substance (usually a type of sugar related to glucose, known as FDG) is injected into the blood. The amount of radioactivity used is very low. Because cancer cells grow quickly, they absorb more of the sugar than most other cells. After waiting about an hour, you lie on a table in the PET scanner for about 30 minutes while a special camera creates a picture of areas of radioactivity in the body.Mesothelioma diagnosis
Testing the samples in the lab
If mesothelioma is diagnosed, the doctor will also determine what type of mesothelioma it is, based on the patterns of cells seen in the microscope. Most mesotheliomas are classified as either epithelioid, sarcomatoid, or mixed/biphasic.Mesothelioma diagnosis