Mesothelioma Symptoms and Diagnosis
Mesothelioma symptoms can take up to 30 or even 40 years to appear, making a mesothelioma diagnosis very difficult to pinpoint. Nearly all the diagnosed mesothelioma cases can be linked to asbestos, which can lodge in the lining of the lungs and abdomen. Mesothelioma cancer has a long latency period, meaning that the symptoms of mesothelioma typically do not appear until years after the asbestos exposure has occurred.
If you have worked with or been exposed to asbestos in the past, and you have any unexplained medical symptoms, you should talk to your physician or health care provider right away. As with any medical condition, the sooner you get treatment the better chance you may have at recovery. We recommend reaching out to the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation if you are looking for a mesothelioma specialist.
Mesothelioma symptoms for Pleural Mesothelioma include shortness of breath, wheezing, hoarseness, coughing, weight loss, chest pain and pleural effusion (fluid surrounding the lung).
Mesothelioma symptoms for Peritoneal Mesothelioma (or Abdominal Mesothelioma) include weight loss, abdominal swelling, ascites (an abnormal buildup of fluid in the abdomen), a mass in the abdomen, bowel obstruction, blood clotting abnormalities, anemia, weight loss and fever.
The symptoms of mesothelioma for Pericardial Mesothelioma include tightness in the chest or chest pain, shortness of breath and weight loss.
Making a Mesothelioma Diagnosis
It is often quite difficult to diagnose mesothelioma since mesothelioma symptoms are often similar to those of other, less serious conditions. However, if you believe you may have mesothelioma, you should contact your health care provider immediately.
Your doctor’s first step to analyzing your mesothelioma symtpoms will be to collect a full medical and asbestos exposure history, along with a thorough physical examination. This might include a chest x-ray, which, if mesothelioma is present, will reveal thickening of the mesotheleum or pleura.
As a follow-up, your doctor may order a CT scan or MRI, which will identify any abnormal fluid buildup around your organs. In the case of Pleural Mesothelioma, the most common form of the disease, your doctor will scan your lungs.
If your physician detects a large amount of fluid, he or she may drain it so he can examine the cells to see if they are malignant, or symptoms of mesothelioma.
If the cells are malignant, your doctor will likely order a biopsy to confirm the mesothelioma diagnosis. This involves removing some tissue from the tumor so a pathologist can look at it under a microscope.
These samples will enable your doctor to determine if your symptoms are related to mesothelioma. Please consult our mesothelioma treatment section for information on what to expect next.
If you've been diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact the mesothelioma lawyers of the Simmons Law Firm for a free consultation.