Being a sporadic disease, Mesothelioma is one of the most difficult to diagnose. It might take several tests to arrive at a diagnosis finally. However, it is primarily diagnosed with a surgical procedure known as biopsies. We are sharing with you how to diagnose mesothelioma and just so you know, this involves making use of imaging scans and tissue samples.
Although these tests are not the only tools used in the diagnosis of Mesothelioma. They compliment others like physical exams, blood tests, a patient’s medical history, and possible asbestos exposure, to mention a few. The diagnosis must be discrete to arrive at accurate results.
However, before you test for mesothelioma, you should have noticed some pulmonary and digestive symptoms, especially if you have a history of asbestos exposure. At the early stage, these systems are attacked. When you notice this, you should see your doctor, who will refer you to obtain cancer screenings.
You should not delay when you start observing these symptoms. It will help in an early diagnosis, giving the patient a higher chance of survival. This is because treatments prove more effective in the early stages compared to the mid/late stages. Let’s find out how to diagnose mesothelioma.
What Are The Steps towards Mesothelioma Diagnosis?
Do you want to know how to diagnose mesothelioma? Well, there is a coordinated process toward mesothelioma diagnosis. However, this process is entirely dependent on the health status of the patient. It also depends on the medical history, asbestos history, and many more.
Therefore, if you want to test for Mesothelioma, your diagnosis procedure might be different from this. However, the basic diagnosis procedure will explain how yours should go and how long it might take to finally arrive at a diagnosis after noticing the first symptoms of the disease.
Aside from diagnosis, the timeline will also help you understand your treatment plan, should the test come out positive.
First Doctor Visit (1-2 weeks)
During this period, the physician should review your medical history. You will also state the symptoms you experience and some possible asbestos exposure.
Imaging Scans (1-2 weeks)
Here, you will undergo some scans like X Rays, PET, and CT scans.
Review Results (1-2 weeks)
It is at this stage your physician will know if you need further tests or not. After getting results from the imaging scans, they are reviewed. If there are any abnormalities, such as an abnormal mass,
Surgical Biopsy (2-4 weeks)
Biopsies are video-assisted thoracoscopic surgeries done to have better views of abnormal masses detected in scans. The surgery might last a hospital stay of up to three days. The results of the Biopsy, however, could take more than a week.
Mesothelioma Diagnosis (2 weeks)
Once the results of the Biopsy us out, your physician will be able to confirm if you have tested positive/negative for Mesothelioma. This is the final diagnosis process.
How To Test For Mesothelioma
The previous paragraph is only a brief of what you are going into. The process on how to diagnose mesothelioma is broader than that. Whenever you notice mesothelioma symptoms, the first step is that you discuss these symptoms with a physician. They will also ask about your medical history and asbestos exposure and history.
After reporting the symptoms of Mesothelioma, your physician will run a physical exam on you to check for irregular signs. As I mentioned earlier, the testing for mesothelioma will include several imaging scans like CT and MRI scans. These scans are essential to identify malignant tumors like mesothelioma.
However, no matter the result of these scans, it is never a confirmation of mesothelioma. The only standard way to confirm Mesothelioma diagnosis is a surgical biopsy. Of course, after getting diagnosed, the next thing is to begin treatment as quickly as possible.
Your doctors might use mesothelioma blood tests to measure response to treatment. Let’s get into details on how to test for Mesothelioma.
Several tests can be conducted at this stage. However, these tests will depend on the details you have provides about your medical history, symptoms, and asbestos exposure. It will help the physician understand how to come in better.
During this procedure, don’t be surprised if your doctor makes use of specific tools or devices to do their examination. Since the symptoms begin with the pulmonary and digestive systems, these tools will be used mainly on the chest and abdomen. Of course, it might reach other parts of the body.
After the physical exams, your physician might refer you to a radiologist for some imaging tests/scans. These tests will help reveal the location and size of potential mesothelioma tumors. In addition, they will be able to tell what stage the tumor has gotten to. Imaging tests for Mesothelioma include X Rays, CT Scans, and MRIs.
Blood Tests and Biomarkers
Don’t get it wrong; blood tests and biomarkers are not used to confirm mesothelioma. These tests and markers are just another stages in the diagnosis of Mesothelioma. However, some blood tests like SOMAmer and MESOMARK can detect signs of mesothelioma.
Before moving on to Blood tests and biomarkers, a physician might have a couple of potential disorders based on the previous test results. Upon detection by these markers, it will automatically rule out some of these disorders, but it is still ineffective in confirming the diagnosis.
This is the final and most effective way to confirm a mesothelioma diagnosis. It involves a surgical procedure having to do with tissue samples of the patient. When the result of the surgery is out, the doctor will be able to confirm the disease and also know the cell type and stage of cancer.
Knowing this mesothelioma related information will help your physician develop an excellent treatment plan for you. However, biopsies are of different kinds. The kind of Biopsy method used on a patient will depend on the location of cancer and patient tolerance. Yes, it is painful, and many patients cannot withstand some.
Fortunately, the effect of the pain can be reduced with anesthesia. The types of mesothelioma biopsy include;
Your physician will explain each of these biopsies to you and their pain level. It will help you decide on which one you wish to go with.