A mesothelioma diagnosis confirms what type of disease a person has and how best to treat it. Doctors will perform several imaging tests, blood tests, and biopsies to determine a diagnosis. The earlier a patient receives an accurate mesothelioma diagnosis, the more likely they will be able to improve life expectancy through treatment.
Sokolove Law can help mesothelioma patients pursue compensation to help cover the costs of testing and treatment.
How Is Mesothelioma Diagnosed?
If you have been exposed to asbestos and are experiencing worrying symptoms of mesothelioma — like chest pain and difficulty breathing — it’s vital to see a medical professional as soon as possible.
A radiologist, oncologist, or mesothelioma specialist will conduct several tests to determine if someone has mesothelioma.
Once diagnosed, your medical care team will devise a mesothelioma treatment plan.
Sadly, the costs of mesothelioma testing and treatment can add up quickly, amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars — too much for many families.
At Sokolove Law, we’ve recovered over $5 Billion for thousands of mesothelioma patients and their families nationwide. Let us get you the results you deserve.
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Our mesothelioma lawyers can fight on your behalf for the compensation you need. Take the first steps toward justice now.
Delayed Diagnoses: Mesothelioma Takes Decades to Develop
Because mesothelioma develops slowly after asbestos fibers have irritated specific protective linings (mesothelium) within the body over a series of decades, the sad reality is that many mesothelioma diagnoses often come too late.
Given this disease’s slow development, it’s important to remember that mesothelioma symptoms are often mistaken for other, less-serious illnesses. This makes regular checkups to the doctor critical for early detection.
Whatever the malignancy (cancer) or disease, early diagnosis is the best defense against a deadly illness. Left undetected, the disease spreads and worsens, decreasing your survival odds.
It's also important to let your doctor know if you may have worked with or around asbestos, so they know to look out the signs.
How Do Doctors Test for Mesothelioma?
To diagnose mesothelioma, doctors will conduct a physical exam, review your medical history, and order several tests. These tests allow doctors to distinguish mesothelioma from other cancers or diseases.
These tests include:
- Blood work
- Imaging tests
Mesothelioma is a rare disease, which means not all doctors are qualified to diagnose and treat it. However, a mesothelioma specialist can do both. They can also give you a second opinion if you have already been diagnosed.
Need help finding a mesothelioma specialist? Sokolove Law has registered nurses on staff who can help you find a specialist and understand your diagnosis and treatment options. Call (800) 647-3434 today.
Mesothelioma Misdiagnosis: The Importance of Second Opinions
Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly disease, so it is best treated when diagnosed early on. However, mesothelioma can often be mistaken for other conditions. Its symptoms can often resemble that of a common cold or the flu. Because of this, it can be hard to diagnose it properly.
The big difference is that when a person has mesothelioma, those symptoms persist and worsen. Mild symptoms often grow into severe wheezing, coughing, loss of appetite, extreme weight loss, and general fatigue.
The longer it takes to make an accurate diagnosis, the lower a person’s chances are for an extended life.
Remember: If you have any questions about symptoms you are experiencing, contact a doctor right away. If you have already been diagnosed, try to follow up with a mesothelioma specialist.
A specialist can confirm or refute your initial diagnosis with better accuracy. In addition, they can recommend treatments you may not have been aware of.
Imaging Tests for Diagnosing Mesothelioma
Imaging tests are often the first step in a diagnosis since they are efficient at locating any abnormal cells.
Imaging tests take pictures of the inside of a patient’s body. These tests can help doctors find tumors and see if the cancer has spread.
There are different types of imaging tests, which include:
- Chest X-ray: X-rays are often done first so doctors can explore the causes of a cough or shortness of breath. It can reveal abnormalities like thickening of the pleura, fluid buildup in the chest (pleural effusion), or calcium deposits, any of which could be signs of mesothelioma.
- CT scans (computed tomography scans): More involved than an X-ray, this test uses detailed images of the body’s soft tissues. This test can help locate tumors and determine the stage of the cancer.
- Echocardiogram: This test may be used if a doctor suspects there is fluid buildup around a patient’s heart, a potential sign of pericardial mesothelioma.
- PET scan (positron emission tomography scan): For this test, mesothelioma patients are injected with a small amount of radioactive material. Any existing cancer cells will absorb the radioactive material faster than healthy cells, allowing the cancer cells to be easily detected.
- MRI scan (magnetic resonance imaging scan): This scan provides detailed images of the body’s soft tissue. An MRI can reveal the precise location and size of a tumor. This test helps doctors decide if surgery is an option because it can show how much damage the cancer has done.
Once any cancerous cells are identified and located, doctors will order more tests to take a closer look.
Blood Tests for Diagnosing Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma can alter the makeup of a person’s blood. High levels of certain proteins, amino acids, or other biomarkers often show that mesothelioma may be present in the body.
While blood tests cannot be used to diagnose mesothelioma, they are short procedures that can help doctors:
- See the extent of the patient’s disease
- Predict the long-term outlook of the condition
As newer methods are developed, blood tests may become useful tools to diagnose and track mesothelioma. This is hopeful news, as early detection opens the door for more treatment options.
Biopsies for Diagnosing Mesothelioma
A biopsy is a sample of the fluid or tissue from possibly cancerous masses. The biopsy sample is examined under a microscope and tested for the presence of cancer cells.
Finding cancer cells with a biopsy is the only definitive way doctors can confirm a diagnosis. Even a biopsy can be tricky, because mesothelioma cells can look like other types of cancer cells.
For example, malignant pleural mesothelioma cells can appear similar to lung cancer cells. In women, peritoneal mesothelioma resembles some cancers of the ovaries.
Common ways doctors collect tissue samples for biopsies include:
- Endoscopy: Doctors will make an incision and guide tiny cameras attached to tubes to biopsy areas. There are different types of endoscopies depending on the location from which doctors need to collect the sample. The most common type is a thoracoscopy, which investigates the chest and lung linings.
- Needle Biopsy: A needle biopsy is a less invasive procedure to get a sample. It also allows doctors to take samples from hard-to-reach areas of the body, such as the heart, lymph nodes, abdominal cavity, or lungs. Doctors use long and hollow tubes to extract tissue. The most commonly used needle biopsy is the fine needle aspiration.
The time frame for each test varies. A needle biopsy takes just a few minutes. A surgical biopsy takes several hours, and you may need to stay overnight in the hospital.
Call (800) 647-3434 now to see if Sokolove Law can help your family pursue compensation for doctor visits, testing, treatment and more.
Other Tests to Diagnose Mesothelioma
To be certain of a diagnosis, doctors often order specialized lab tests to distinguish the types of mesothelioma from other cancers.
Diagnostic tests can include:
- Immunohistochemistry: Immunohistochemistry helps distinguish mesothelioma from lung cancer.
- DNA Microarray Analysis: DNA microarray analysis looks at patterns of genes in the cells. Mesothelioma cells have different gene patterns from other cancer cells.
- Electron Microscopy: Electron microscopy examines fluid and tissue samples under a high-powered microscope. This makes the smallest parts of cancer cells visible.
Once you have been diagnosed, doctors may recommend more tests to determine the stage of the cancer. From there, they can develop a personalized treatment plan.
Treatment plans should be tailored to your specific type of mesothelioma and whether the cancer cells have reached metastasis (spread to other organs or parts of the body).
Unfortunately, the cost of mesothelioma treatment can add up quickly.
For over 40 years, the experienced mesothelioma lawyers at Sokolove Law have helped thousands of mesothelioma patients and their families afford the treatment they need and find financial security after a diagnosis.
Billions Recovered Nationwide
We’ve recovered over $5 Billion for thousands of mesothelioma patients and their families nationwide. Let us get you the results you deserve.
Diagnosed with Mesothelioma? Sokolove Law Is Here to Help
Receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis can feel overwhelming, especially as doctor bills and treatment costs begin to pile up. Thankfully, you do not have to go through this alone — Sokolove Law is here to help.
For years, many manufacturers of asbestos products hid the dangers of their products. They prioritized profit over the safety and well-being of millions of people.
Learn about your legal options and how Sokolove Law can help you now. Contact us at (800) 647-3434 to get started.
Mesothelioma Diagnosis & Misdiagnosis FAQs
Is mesothelioma different from lung cancer?
Yes. Mesothelioma is caused by inhaled or ingested asbestos fibers that irritate the thin lining surrounding important organs such as the lungs, heart, and abdomen.
While lung cancer can also be caused by asbestos, lung cancer cells form on the inside of the lungs rather than in the thin lining known as mesothelial tissue.
What are the first signs and symptoms of mesothelioma?
The first signs and symptoms of mesothelioma may be mistaken for a common cold. That is why it is so important to know if you may have been exposed to asbestos — the main risk factor of mesothelioma.
Common symptoms of mesothelioma include:
- Chest pain
- Cough that persists or worsens
- Shortness of breath
- Unexplained weight loss
If you believe you were exposed to asbestos and are experiencing the symptoms of mesothelioma, contact your doctor immediately.
With a database of asbestos job sites, Sokolove Law can help identify where you were exposed and what you were exposed to. We can also fight on your behalf for the compensation you deserve.
Call us at (800) 647-3434 to learn more. Our team’s available 24/7, and it costs nothing to speak with us.
Can mesothelioma be found in a blood test?
Possibly, yes. Blood tests are just one of the many tools doctors may use to help detect the presence of cancer cells. However, blood tests can not be used to make a definitive diagnosis.
After initial imaging tests and blood tests, doctors will order additional diagnostic testing like biopsies to confirm if the cells are mesothelioma or another condition.
Are there resources to help me after a mesothelioma diagnosis?
Yes. At Sokolove Law, our team knows the burdens many carry when faced with a mesothelioma diagnosis.
That’s why our registered nurses and mesothelioma lawyers are just a phone call away. We can help you find a mesothelioma specialist near you and pursue financial compensation to help pay for treatment.