Diagnosing of Malignant Mesothelioma
Early Signs of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma diagnosis may be difficult. The onset of mesothelioma is usually very slow. The first symptom may be a constant pain in the chest. This pain later may be accompanied by difficulty breathing due to an accumulation of fluid in the chest. Mesothelioma cancer is usually diagnosed after a person develops breathing difficulty, shortness of breath, chest discomfort, chest pain, and fatigue. When a person goes to the doctor for the first time with these symptoms, the doctor will usually take a chest x-ray and listen to the chest. Many times the chest x-ray will show a large area of white which indicates an accumulation of fluid.
It is very common for mesothelioma to cause fluid to accumulate in the pleural space (a pleural effusion). The pleural space is the area between the outside lining of the lung and the inside lining of the chest wall. In a normal person, the pleura — which lines the chest — rubs up against the pleura which lines the chest wall. Each of these pleura are about as thick as a piece of saran wrap. There is a very tiny amount of fluid which coats each of the pleura so that when they rub up against one another as a person inhales and exhales, there will be no friction or irritation.
Mesothelioma diagnosis can be done by your doctor with a chest CT-scan or MRI. The process of diagnosing a case of begins with a review of a patient’s medical history, with a focus on any history of asbestos exposure. A medical professional may prescribe a full series of tests, including x-rays, lung function tests, CT (CAT) scans, and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). If a case of Mesothelioma is suspected, a physical biopsy of the suspect tissue will be used to confirm the diagnosis.
If the diagnosis is indeed Mesothelioma, the next step will be to find the stage or extent of the cancer. A "staging" test attempts to find out if and where the cancer has spread. Knowing the stage of the disease is essential to planning a course of treatment.
When a mesothelioma develops, the pleura
often becomes much thickened and studded with tumor nodules. Part of the
body’s response to the presence of the tumor is to weep fluid into the
pleural space. As the fluid collects in the pleural space, it compresses
the lung, making it harder and harder for a person to breathe and causing
more and more shortness of breath. If the mesothelioma has produced fluid,
it is usually possible for the doctor to drain the fluid out of the pleural
space, thoracentesis giving immediate relief of the symptoms of the mesothelioma.
When the fluid is drained, the lung is able to return to close to normal
size and it becomes immediately easier for the person to breathe
Actual Diagnosis of Mesothelioma – What’s Next ? Analysing the biopsy in the laboratory is the only way your doctor can make the diagnosis of mesothelioma. Sometimes even after taking a biopsy the doctors may have difficulty being sure of the diagnosis. Because the disease can be difficult to diagnose and treat, consultation with a mesothelioma doctor and treatment center with expertise and experience with mesothelioma is frequently recommended.