What Is the Process for Diagnosing Mesothelioma?

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Mesothelioma & Asbestos Published on November 15, 2018 and updated on March 4, 2022.

meeting with a doctorMesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer. It occurs in the thin layer of tissue that covers most of a person’s internal organs. One of the biggest problems with this disease is that it is often diagnosed after it has spread. This limits treatment options and puts patients’ lives in jeopardy.

Below, learn more about the methods doctors have for diagnosing this dangerous disease and the dangers of delayed treatment. Our Virginia mesothelioma lawyers may be able to help you pursue compensation to help cover the costs of your treatment.

Tests for Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is usually diagnosed after a patient goes to the doctor due to ongoing symptoms. The doctor will take the patient’s medical history and conduct a physical exam. If the patient describes any previous exposure to asbestos, the doctor may use various tests to try to diagnose the condition.

Some common tests that are used to diagnose mesothelioma include:

  • Chest X-ray
  • CT scan
  • Echocardiogram
  • PET scan
  • MRI scan
  • Blood tests
  • Fluid test
  • Needle biopsy
  • Endoscopic biopsy
  • Open surgical biopsy
  • Pulmonary function test

Your physician can discuss each of your options and provide you with recommendations based on your particular risk factors and medical history. He or she can explain each procedure and how it can help determine whether you have developed mesothelioma due to exposure to asbestos.

Why is this Disease Diagnosed Late?

Mesothelioma has a long latency period – the time between the exposure to asbestos and when symptoms begin to emerge. It often takes decades before symptoms begin to emerge, so many people do not link potential exposure to asbestos to their physical symptoms.

For most mesothelioma cases, the latency period is 30 to 45 years. However, some forms of mesothelioma have been caught as early as 10 years or as late as 50 years. It may take many years after inhaling or ingesting dangerous asbestos fibers before the lungs, abdomen or lining of the heart begins to scar, become inflamed and lead to cell mutation.

Many people may not know they were exposed to asbestos and may not consider that their symptoms may be caused by this. Early diagnosis of this condition is unusual because most people are not actively seeking treatment for it during the early stages. A later diagnosis can impact treatment options and life expectancy.

Stage Three Diagnosis

Unfortunately, mesothelioma is often diagnosed at stage three. At this stage, most patients have a life expectancy of approximately 16 months. However, numerous factors can impact a patient’s prognosis, such as age, genetics, cell type, type of mesothelioma and overall health. These factors can determine the potential treatment plan.

Some treatment options are able to extend a person’s life expectancy. However, the viability of different options largely depends on how much the cancer has spread. When treatment options are unlikely to provide much benefit, palliative care may help alleviate symptoms.

Some treatment options that may be available at this advanced stage include:

  • Surgery – Surgery may be used to remove some tumors or to remove fluid pressure. This option may be able to improve the quality of life for some mesothelioma patients.
  • Chemotherapy – This aggressive treatment option may be used in limited circumstances.
  • Radiation – Radiation is used to target and localize treatment. In some cases, radiation may be used to reduce tumors and alleviate some symptoms.
  • Emerging treatments – Doctors may recommend using emerging treatments, such as those provided through clinical trials.

Contact a Mesothelioma Lawyer for Help

Mesothelioma is often caused by workplace exposure to asbestos or defective products. If you developed mesothelioma, compensation may be available to provide for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Treatment is often expensive, so it is important that you explore all of your legal options.

It is important to work with an experienced mesothelioma lawyer who can link your exposure and this life-threatening disease. We have helped many mesothelioma victims recover compensation from lawsuits and claims with asbestos trusts.

We offer a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your options and understand your claim. We work on a contingency fee basis, so we only get paid if we help you recover compensation for your injuries. We also charge no upfront fees, so you have nothing to risk by contacting us to learn more about your claim.

Fill out a Free Case Evaluation form or call us at 410-244-7005.