Veterans Assistance

Mesothelioma Diagnosis

A mesothelioma diagnosis requires a trained and experienced diagnostician. This is because symptoms may vary and point to a number of illnesses, including other lung and organ cancers.

Initial Visit

The process starts by taking of a complete medical history and thorough physical exam. Answer your doctor's questions fully and honestly. If you think you have mesothelioma, tell your doctor about any asbestos exposure. There is no simple test for mesothelioma, so your doctor might make your diagnosis after carefully eliminating all other possibilities.

Seeing The Tumor

Your doctor will use a battery of technological tests to narrow the range of possibilities and make an accurate diagnosis. Because each procedure gives your doctor more information, you may find yourself undergoing several tests. These procedures include a chest x-ray, a tomography and an MRI:

  • A chest x-ray uses radiation to produce an image of your chest so that he or she can see any tumors or masses.
  • A tomography scan uses a different technology to reveal similar information.
  • An MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging machine, induces a magnetic field to create a 3-D picture of your body. Your doctor then uses the image to find the location and size of a tumor. Then he or she can compare it against normal and abnormal tissue.

Minimally Invasive Procedures

Once your doctor performs these tests and considers mesothelioma a likely diagnosis, he or she may require a minor, minimally invasive surgery called a biopsy. Typically, a surgeon removes a sample of tissue or a small amount of liquid from the affected area. These samples are then tested further to conclusively confirm or discount mesothelioma.

The procedure is quite common and extremely safe. It can be performed in a number of ways. The simplest operation begins with several small incisions made as close as possible to the tumor or fluid. Next, a thin, flexible tube is inserted and guided to this target. The tube is mounted with a camera that guides the surgeon. Various instruments sent through the other incisions then remove the tissue or collect the fluid. In most cases, the incisions are only millimeters in length, allowing for fast healing and a minimum of pain.

A final procedure that may be performed is a mediastinoscopy. It involves examination of the lymph nodes. Again, the procedure is minimally invasive. The tissue is easily removed and used to identify the specific cancer and whether it has spread.

Concerned You Might Have Mesothelioma?

If you have been exposed to asbestos and wonder if you have mesothelioma, or if you simply need some answers, please contact us. Our experienced staff can speak knowledgeably about the diagnosis and treatment of mesothelioma.

Last Edited: Sun July 26, 2020