Generally speaking, there is no single and most established means of diagnosing Mesothelioma. Moreover, the process involves several procedures, and these are all performed by various medical experts. Most patients also obtain their official diagnosis after having undergone a number of tests, and the final diagnosis is received after two or three months from the onset of all symptoms.
Facts about Diagnosis of the Disease
In most instances, a medical professional begins with physical and oral exams to learn more about the patient’s condition. These exams also determine the possibility of exposure to asbestos. Afterwards, doctors may investigate further by requiring patients to undergo imaging tests that can effectively identify abnormalities in the body. If these tests reveal a certain suspicious mass similar to mesothelioma, a biopsy of the mass will confirm the diagnosis. As patients go through the entire diagnostic process, they will have to deal with different medical specialists. For instance, they may have to visit a GP (general practitioner), radiologist, pathologist, pulmonologist, oncologist and surgeon during this period. Furthermore, some patients prefer to visit doctors that specialize in asbestos-related diseases for a second opinion and learn more details about the diagnosis.
Most patients who suffer from symptoms linked with Mesothelioma visit their physician for initial diagnosis. The initial consultation typically includes the occupational history, medical history, discussion of present symptoms, and a basic physical examination. Moreover, patients are not given the final diagnosis at their initial visit to the doctor. Since various symptoms may imply other diseases, the physician may require patients to go through further tests to determine the cause. Among the common types of diagnostic tests include biopsies and imaging scans, although some doctors recommend pulmonary function for a thorough analysis of all symptoms.
Imaging tests help is visually identifying potential cancers or tumors in the body. Several advanced forms of diagnostic imaging serve an important role in mesothelioma diagnosis such as x-rays or the production of images of areas in the body that tend to be dense. CT scans are also prescribed, and this procedure utilize electromagnetic imagery in creating precise images of the body’s internal structures. Patients may also be required to undergo MRI tests, which generate detailed images of all highly-active internal areas of the body with the use of radio waves and magnets. Lastly, PET scans help in determining areas of the body that tend to be abnormally high, and can show metabolic activities that are potentially cancerous.
Most doctors recommend CT scans as the first imaging test for patients, although the common standard for diagnosing Mesothelioma is the combination of PET and CT scans. However, most diagnoses of this type of cancer may be conducted incidentally when medical professionals recommend other types of imaging tests or scans in identifying an unknown health condition. In case the scan reveals suspicious masses on body parts where the cancer develops such as the pericardium, peritoneum, or pleura, a patient may be required to undergo biopsy, which can confirm the specific information about the progress or growth of the mass. The test can also indicate if the tumor is malignant, as well as the part of the body where the cancer originated.
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