Mesothelioma is a serious illness that needs to be treated as soon as possible. If it’s caught early, it’s sometimes possible to remove the damaged tissues or to start helpful treatment regimens. Unfortunately, most people don’t know about the illness until it is in the later stages, when treatment is much harder.
Getting a solid diagnosis is the first step to treatment. You should seek treatment if you have symptoms of mesothelioma such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Painful coughing
- Lumps on the chest (under the skin)
- Chest pain
- Sudden, unexplained weight loss
Other symptoms can occur as well, depending on where the mesothelioma has spread.
What can you expect if you are going to be tested for mesothelioma?
If your doctor believes that you have signs of mesothelioma, then they will order tests such as X-rays, computerized tomography scans and magnetic resonance imaging scans. These tests are used to identify any fluid that may have built up between the chest wall and the lungs. If the mesothelioma could be in a different part of the body, then the tests will be used to look there instead.
When these tests are performed, the medical provider is looking for signs of unusual tissue. If something looks strange, they will order a biopsy, so that some tissue can be removed and tested.
Are mesothelioma diagnoses often missed?
Unfortunately, yes. Since mesothelioma has symptoms similar to other illnesses, the likelihood is that it will be missed or diagnosed later than it should be. There is no cure for this illness, so diagnosing it earlier means that patients will have a better chance of slowing its progression.
Once the illness is diagnosed, treatment options may include:
- Intraoperative photodynamic therapy
- Radiation therapy
…and others. It’s important to have a diagnosis as soon as possible to keep these options open.
What should you do if you have mesothelioma?
Seek care as soon as you can if you have symptoms of mesothelioma or receive a diagnosis. Early treatment can help minimize your pain and improve your quality of life. You can also look into filing a claim if you were exposed to asbestos on the job.