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Common Diagnosis Steps For Mesothelioma

Did you know that it takes more than three months to properly diagnose mesothelioma?

Day 1

Initial symptoms include:
  • Blood in the sputum (fluid) or coughing up blood
  • Chest Pain
  • Development of lumps under the skin on the chest
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Fatigue and shortness of breath, persistent dry cough without phlegm
  • Inexplicable weight loss
  • Sweating or fever

Day 2

Your physician orders X-rays
  • X-rays determine fluid in the lungs
  • This usually indicates pneumonia
  • Your doctor will tell you that you are suffering from pneumonia
  • You will be prescribed medication and other treatments
  • Mesothelioma can easily be mistaken with a cold, pneumonia or other lung diseases

Day 3-13

Physicians can recommend 2 treatments for pneumonia:
  • Antibiotics (10 day treatment), or
  • Draining your fluid from the pleural cavity
  • No cancer cells are detected in fluid at this point
  • Your doctor will decide which antibiotic is right for your symptoms

Day 14

X-rays after treatment show clear lungs
  • Doctor orders follow up X-rays after you finished your treatment
  • Patient should return for check up in 30 days
  • X-rays will show your doctor whether you still have any fluid left in your lungs
  • You will be prescribed a new treatment if the doctor sees fluid in your lungs again

Day 44

New X-rays show fluid in pleural cavity again
  • Your doctor will try the same treatment
  • You will be prescribed antibiotics, possibly more concentrated and/or your fluid will be drained from your lungs
  • Patient gets PET scans and CT scans
  • PET scans and CT scans allow your doctor to get a detailed view of your lungs

Day 54

PET and CT scans show a problem
  • Imaging scans show a possible underlying cause or recurrent pneumonia
  • PET scans and CT scans are often used when X-rays do not provide sufficient details of a targeted area
  • Patient is referred to a surgeon for an appointment (up to 15 days)

Day 69

The surgeon schedules a biopsy appointment
  • Getting an appointment can take up to 10 days
  • A biopsy is a sample of tissue taken from to body and examined to determine the presence, cause or extent of a disease
  • Your surgeon will let you know what preparations you need to make before your biopsy

Day 79

The surgeon takes the biopsy, while the patient stays at the hospital
  • Biopsy is usually done via VATS and requires a 3-day hospital stay
  • Lab work can take up to 10 days
  • The sample may be chemically treated or frozen and sliced into very thin sections
  • The sections are placed on glass slides, stained to enhance contrast and studied under a microscope

Day 89

Results of the biopsy
  • Mesothelioma is confirmed if biopsy tests positive for the disease
  • Your surgeon will guide you to a specialist to help you cope with the disease and receive adequate help

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