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How do doctors diagnose mesothelioma?

Malignant mesothelioma is not easy to diagnose. One of the first symptoms that patients experience is a dry cough or a shortness of breath. Most of the patients who have these symptoms receive an initial treatment but the symptoms only go away for a short period of time or not at all.

There are several aspects that influence the diagnosis of the age of the patient, the lack of a clear cause of cancer, the presence/absence of lung masses and the earlier the patient is diagnosed, the more options of treatment he/she has.

In order to diagnose mesothelioma, most of the doctors choose to perform a thoracentesis (drainage of the lung using a needle) but 50% of the tests of this type have a negative result.

Therefore, more aggressive tests are recommended like biopsy or pleuroscopy (camera-assisted biopsy). Imaging techniques like ultrasound, CT and MRI are also helpful but only a tissue sample can lead to a correct diagnosis.


Comments from doctors

  • Actually, there is no standard path that doctors follow in order to diagnose all the patients. Every person is diagnosed in a different way as there are a lot of aspects that influence the diagnosis like age and medical history.

  • Doctors usually begin the diagnosing process by asking the patient about his/her medical history and by running some standard tests. Also, it is very important for them to know if the patient has been exposed to asbestos throughout their life.

  • The more details about your medical history you tell your doctor, the more you hasten the diagnosing process.

We wanted a resource where people who are looking for better help can find it, because one of the issues that I have found is that the diagnosis takes a little bit, some people don’t know if they are diagnosed or not. This is something that it is important enough, that is why I wanted to put the information together.