Mesothelioma cancer is a disease that is particularly difficult to diagnose. Due to its latent onset and nonspecific symptoms, a person suffering from mesothelioma might go decades before a proper diagnosis and mesothelioma treatment is sought out. Dealing with mesothelioma cancer in its latter stages makes fighting the cancer that much more difficult. Below is a list of different clinical procedures your physician might perform in diagnosing the disease.
As a first step in diagnosing the disease, doctors will often arrange for image testing.
- Chest tomograms: A series of x-ray pictures of the chest taken in the frontal or lateral view producing a three-dimensional image. Tomograms have the ability to show the chest region at various depths and further detect small masses not seen on regular film.
- Pulmonary angiography: Dye is injected into a blood vessel and x-rays are taken of the arteries or veins in the lung.
- Standard CT, CAT, or MRI scans: Magnetic and computerized reconstruction of x-ray images. Such tests are used to detect abnormalities in x-ray absorption in the abdomen, chest, or head. If a patient’s tissues do in fact show an abnormal capacity for absorbing the x-rays, doctors will often proceed by performing a biopsy.
More aggressive diagnosis follows in the form of a biopsy. A biopsy is where living tissue is removed from the body and viewed under a microscope. There are several methods of tissue biopsy that are used to test for mesothelioma cancer.
- Open biopsy: The most common and preferred method is open biopsy. Open biopsy is considered the most accurate and conclusive in making a diagnosis of mesothelioma cancer because it allows for the collection of bigger tissue samples
- Thoracoscopy and laparoscopy: Entails inserting a small camera to look at and probe into the affected area.
- Needle biopsy: Doctors may also choose to collect tissue samples by inserting a hallow needle into a patient’s skin and removing cells this way.