Previously published in Examiner
Part 6 of the mesothelioma series
Beyond the basic tests required for diagnosing a possible illness, a mesothelioma diagnosis requires some of the most sophisticated imaging tools available to the medical community. These are very expensive procedures and unfortunately many individuals just do not have the insurance or the money to pay for them. Sometimes doctors or even the patients are reluctant to take that extra step for diagnosis. Not getting proper medical attention in the earlier years can contribute to the delay in diagnosis resulting a diagnosis that comes way too late for effective medical treatment.
Additional testing for mesothelioma
A needle biopsy called a thoracentesis will extract some of the fluid to determine if it is a transudate or exsudate effusion in the pleura, while the same procedure can be done for peritoneal mesothelioma using a peritoneoscope. These types of needle biopsies do not conclusively proof the cancer is present and biopsies to remove tissue samples for further analysis is often required.
After the biopsies are taken they are sent onto pathology labs for analysis. These expert mesothelioma pathologists must first rule out any other form of cancer before given the diagnosis of mesothelioma.
Computed Tomography (CT scans) are not only used to reveal the presence of effusion but to locate fissures, scar tissue, calcification of tissue, tumors, and any protrusions in the cell walls.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) can calculate the size of the tumors, and lymph nodes. They can view different images in layers and are more refined at distinguishing tumors from other structures in the body. MRI’s are also used to determine if a patient is a good candidate for surgery.
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) will tell you what stage the tumor is in and how far advanced, it has gotten. Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is the most sophisticated imagining tool but it is also the most expensive.
For more info on mesothelioma Maggie Kay is a freelance writer from Montreal and is the head researcher and content manager of www.maacenter.org