Mesothelioma cancer can be particularly difficult to diagnose. Between the rarity of the disease, and the fact that symptoms are often similar to those of other types of cancer, doctors can sometimes mistake mesothelioma for a less serious condition or form of cancer.
Although dealing with any type of cancer is never easy, securing an early diagnosis in mesothelioma cases can make all the difference when it comes to arriving at the best possible outcome. Like other forms of cancer, early diagnosis presents a wider variety of treatment options, which could extend life expectancy.
Why Is Mesothelioma Difficult to Diagnose?
Diagnosing mesothelioma begins with asbestos exposure. If you have been exposed to asbestos in some way, shape or form, such as occupational asbestos exposure, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider, so that they are aware of the risk for mesothelioma.
Although a patient may detect symptoms at any time, those associated with mesothelioma generally begin to appear 20 to 50 years after asbestos exposure.
Typically, the most common symptoms at the onset of mesothelioma include difficulty breathing and chest pain. In some cases, patients may experience distention and abdominal pain. These are warning signs to watch out for, and report to a doctor immediately.
Informing a doctor of your comprehensive work history can accelerate diagnosis in rare cancer cases like mesothelioma. For example, it is important to explain to a doctor that you have worked in a high-risk industry, including construction, shipbuilding or an industry such as steel, power generation, or chemical, where asbestos products were frequently used. Providing this information to your doctor may assist with diagnosis and treatment.
Medical Testing in Mesothelioma Cases
Once a doctor is aware, they can begin a series of medical tests to assess the presence of masses or other abnormalities in order to determine a diagnosis. It’s important to note that testing for this disease is a long, complex process that will involve a number of cancer specialists and diagnostic tools, including:
- CT scans
- PET scans
Generally, an initial CT or PET scan may reveal the presence of tumors or abnormalities which may warrant additional investigation and ultimately surgical biopsy to confirm diagnosis. The initial radiology procedures are important because both tests can grant medical professionals a detailed look inside of the body, where they can see whether growths are cancerous or non-cancerous.
In most cases, patients receive a diagnosis two to three months from the onset of symptoms.
Once a diagnosis is confirmed, patients generally work with surgeons and oncologists to determine the best course of treatment, which may include surgical procedures such as a pleurectomy or a pneumonectomy, chemotherapy, or radiation. Often a combination of treatments is recommended for those diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Have You Been Diagnosed With Mesothelioma?
If you or a loved one are dealing with mesothelioma-related symptoms, it is critical that you consult with a qualified medical professional as soon as possible. Depending on the stage of your symptoms, a doctor may order medical tests to determine if you are at risk for asbestos-related cancer.
The next thing you will want to do is contact an attorney, who can protect your interests while you focus on treatment and recovery. That’s where the legal team at Antion McGee comes in. Our West Virginia Mesothelioma attorneys focus on working with clients dealing with cancer due to asbestos exposure, including those who suffered ongoing exposure due to an occupation. From assisting in finding the medical care you need, to building a strategy to hold those responsible for your illness accountable, our firm is prepared to stand by and support you, every step of the way.
We invite you to contact our attorneys today to schedule a preliminary consultation to assess your case. To get started, contact the attorneys at Antion McGee today at (304) 807-0739.