Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Each year, nearly 3,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with mesothelioma. It is a cancer caused by asbestos exposure that most commonly affects the lining of the lungs, heart or abdomen.

A mesothelioma diagnosis is overwhelming, and making sense of the medical information available can be a daunting task. You don’t have to go through this alone.

At Simmons Hanly Conroy, our lawyers and on-staff nurses are prepared to help you get the legal help and treatment you need. Call (800) 326-8900 now to get started. It costs nothing to speak with us.

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Simmons Hanly Conroy Holds Asbestos Companies Responsible

After a mesothelioma diagnosis, LaTanyta and her husband Andrew decided to file a mesothelioma lawsuit. LaTanyta shares how the legal help offered by Simmons Hanly Conroy provided the compensation her husband needed for life-extending treatment.

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How Doctors Diagnose Mesothelioma

An early diagnosis is the most important factor to receiving a wider range of treatment options. Unfortunately, the disease is often not diagnosed until it has reached advanced stages.

Mesothelioma symptoms may not develop until 10-50 years after asbestos exposure and can be similar to other less serious illnesses. Those who have worked in high-risk asbestos occupations should be mindful of symptoms and risk factors.

If mesothelioma symptoms — such as chest pain and shortness of breath — begin to develop, it is important to talk with your doctor and share any history of asbestos exposure.

Once symptoms are detected, your doctor will begin the multistep diagnosis process, which involves:

  1. Imaging tests and/or blood tests to detect the presence of cancer cells
  2. Biopsies to confirm whether or not cells are cancerous
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Tests for Mesothelioma Cancer

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Imaging Tests

Imaging tests are the first step in a diagnosis. These tests take pictures of the inside of a patient’s body to detect any abnormal shadows, which could signal the presence of mesothelioma.

There are several different types of imaging tests, which include:

  • Chest X-ray: Often used to explore the causes of a cough or shortness of breath
  • CT Scan (computed tomography scan): More involved than an X-ray, provides detailed images to locate tumors
  • Echocardiogram: Used to detect fluid buildup around a patient’s heart, a potential sign of pericardial mesothelioma
  • MRI Scan (magnetic resonance imaging scan): Provides detailed images to reveal location and size of a tumor
  • PET Scan (positron emission tomography scan): Injects patients with radioactive material that any existing cancer cells will absorb, allowing cells to be easily detected

If doctors detect any signs of cancerous cells during preliminary imaging tests, they will then order additional tests including biopsies.

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The final step in the mesothelioma diagnosis process is a biopsy. These tests take fluid or tissue samples from the patient to examine in the lab.

There are several different types of biopsies depending on the location of the cells doctors are trying to examine.

However, there are two common methods for a biopsy, which include:

  • Endoscopy: Doctors will make an incision and guide tiny cameras attached to tubes to biopsy areas
  • Needle Biopsy: Less invasive than an endoscopy, doctors will use long hollow tubes to take samples from hard-to-reach areas including the heart and lymph nodes

Doctors will then carefully examine these samples to determine if any cancer cells are present. If cancerous cells are evident, doctors will then work to identify the type of cancer it is.

Biopsies are the only official way to confirm a mesothelioma diagnosis.

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Blood Tests

Some patients may undergo blood tests as part of the first step in a mesothelioma diagnosis.

Blood tests cannot be used to confirm a diagnosis but are instead used to help locate cancer cells. Blood tests look at the levels of certain biomarkers.

If some substances are higher than the average person, it may help doctors see that mesothelioma cancer cells are present in the body.

It is also a good way to understand a patient’s overall health and eligibility for different treatment options.

“I had every test that could be done, and they never found anything….I took the same scans to my mesothelioma doctors — and they saw it right away.”

Mary Jane, Firm Client & Mesothelioma Warrior

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What to Do After a Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Finding a mesothelioma specialist and cancer center near you will be the most important first step in confirming your diagnosis and getting life-extending mesothelioma treatment. If you need help finding a specialist, contact us today.

We know this can be an incredibly difficult time for the patient as well as their family members and loved ones. Thankfully, you don’t have to go through this difficult time alone. We are here to help.

Our on-staff nurses can help connect you with a specialist and help answer any of your questions after a diagnosis. It costs nothing to speak with us.

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Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit After Diagnosis

At Simmons Hanly Conroy, our mesothelioma lawyers have been working with victims of the disease and their families for nearly a decade and have become intimately familiar with the questions and concerns patients may have.

For years asbestos-product manufacturers put people at risk of their dangerous products. Through mesothelioma legal claims, we hold these companies responsible for their greed.

As a leading national mesothelioma law firm, Simmons Hanly Conroy has remained dedicated to service, which has helped us recover over $10 billion for our clients affected by mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact us today for your free, no-obligation consultation.

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Mesothelioma Diagnosis FAQs

What causes mesothelioma cancer?

Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. People who worked in certain asbestos occupations may be at an increased risk of developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.

What are the signs and symptoms of mesothelioma?

Symptoms of mesothelioma vary for each person and the type of mesothelioma they have.

However, the most common symptoms to be aware of, especially if you have a history of asbestos exposure, are chest pain and shortness of breath.

How is mesothelioma diagnosed?

Mesothelioma is often difficult to diagnose since asbestos exposure symptoms may not develop for 10-50 years.

Once symptoms are identified, talk with your doctor immediately and communicate your history of asbestos exposure.

Doctors will then begin the multistep diagnosis process, which usually includes:

  1. Imaging tests and/or blood tests
  2. Biopsies to confirm diagnosis

What do I do after a mesothelioma diagnosis?

The most important step after receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis is to connect with a mesothelioma specialist who can begin your treatment.

You may also want to see if you are eligible for mesothelioma compensation to help you pay for life-extending treatment.

Our team of on-staff nurses can help you with your mesothelioma questions. Contact us today to see how we can help.

Simmons Support Team
Amy Fair R.N.Reviewed by:Amy Fair R.N.

Director of Medical Relations

  • Fact-Checked
  • Medical Reviewer

Amy fills a unique role helping guide patients and families through the often confusing and overwhelming steps following an asbestos-related cancer diagnosis. Assisted by 14 medical assistants and a Licensed Practical Nurse, Amy and her medical team provide healthcare information and explain treatment options to those recently diagnosed and throughout the progression of their disease.

View Sources
  1. American Cancer Society. “Tests for Malignant Mesothelioma.” Retrieved from: Accessed on December 14, 2022.
  2. Cancer Research UK. “Tests for Mesothelioma.” Retrieved from Accessed on December 14, 2022.
  3. Psycho-Oncology. (2020). “What are the psychological effects of mesothelioma on patients and their carers? A scoping review.” Retrieved from: Accessed on December 14, 2022.