How Do Doctors Diagnose Mesothelioma?
Some medical conditions can be diagnosed very quickly; you can know the results of the test by the time you even leave the doctor’s office. A nasal swab can diagnose or rule out COVID-19 in a matter of minutes, as can a blood draw for HIV or a urine test for pregnancy. One look at an X-ray, and a doctor can tell whether you have a broken bone. For tuberculosis tests, you can tell several days after your doctor’s office visit whether the site of the transdermal injection looks like it is positive or negative for tuberculosis. Diagnosing cancer is not nearly so simple. You might have to go through weeks of tests before a doctor tells you what kind of cancer you have, and weeks more before your doctors advise you on the best ways to treat it. The medical bills can be sky high by the time you even get to the first treatment session. If you need advice on dealing with the financial aspects of a diagnosis of mesothelioma or another asbestos-related cancer, contact a Columbia asbestos and mesothelioma lawyer.
The Long Road to a Mesothelioma Diagnosis
Asbestos exposure is the direct cause of most cases of malignant mesothelioma, but decades usually pass between the asbestos exposure and the time that symptoms appear. The symptoms of mesothelioma overlap with the symptoms of many other medical conditions. Therefore, no one goes to a doctor because they have a persistent cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue, and walks out that same day with a diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma. Just based on the symptoms, it could be COVID-19, emphysema, lung cancer, or any of a host of other illnesses. Your age and smoking history could also lead your doctor to first suspect other conditions.
Testing starts with bloodwork and a chest X-ray. The blood work can tell you that something is wrong, but it can’t be specific about what the problem is. Certain biomarkers in the blood are correlated with cancer, but there is no molecule that doctors can test for where its presence means that you definitely have mesothelioma and its absence means that you definitely do not. A chest X-ray can show if there is fluid buildup in your chest and if there are tumors present. It cannot tell you what the tumors are made of, and it can only be approximate about their size and location; remember then an X-ray radiograph is a two-dimensional, still image.
The only way to be certain about a mesothelioma diagnosis is through a tissue biopsy. You will have to be under anesthesia for doctors to remove a small piece of the tumor. When pathologists examine it under the microscope, they can know whether the cells are mesothelioma or some other kind of cancer. After that, your doctors can begin to strategize about the most effective treatments.
Let Us Help You Today
The asbestos and mesothelioma lawyers at the Stanley Law Group can help you afford the most effective treatments for malignant mesothelioma. Contact The Stanley Law Group in Columbia, South Carolina or call (803)799-4700 for a free initial consultation.