Because the symptoms of mesothelioma are very similar to those associated with less severe respiratory conditions such as pneumonia, asthma or bronchitis, the disease can easily be misdiagnosed or overlooked. Consequently, choosing a highly qualified oncologist specialized in mesothelioma cases and undergoing specific tests and diagnostic procedures are crucial for a proper and accurate evaluation. Due to the aggressive nature of the disease and its overall poor prognosis, prompt specialized treatment is essential if you are diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive type of cancer with a generally negative prognosis. The symptoms of the disease can often mimic signs associated with less severe conditions. For instance, shortness of breath, a persistent cough, chest pain and excessive sweating are all symptoms accompanying both mesothelioma and various pulmonary diseases such as pneumonia or tuberculosis. Thus, adequate specialized evaluation is essential, as there is a high risk of misdiagnosis. The prognosis of mesothelioma also improves when the disease is detected in its early stages, as more treatment options are available.
Diagnosing mesothelioma is a very challenging task even for the most experienced oncologists and typically requires the collaboration of an entire team of specialists, including pathologists, radiologists, surgeons, and pulmonologists. Standard tests and examination procedures often fail to promptly detect the disease, as mesothelioma is rarely accompanied by distressing symptoms in its initial phases. Additionally, when the patient does experience some or all the signs of mesothelioma, such as difficulty breathing, a persistent cough, fatigue or chest pain, cancer might be mistaken for a common respiratory condition and ineffective treatment is thereby prescribed.
A highly qualified oncologist who has extensive knowledge of mesothelioma will be able to guide you towards the most efficient diagnostic procedures and will also order a series of specialized tests which can reveal whether you suffer from mesothelioma or from another respiratory condition. They will ask essential questions related to the main known risk factor for mesothelioma – asbestos – in order to find out if you ever worked with these toxic minerals. Mesothelioma entails a long latency period of 20-50 years, so it is extremely important to mention any circumstance in which you might have been exposed to asbestos, regardless of when it occurred. If you have indeed been in contact with asbestos, you will have to provide additional details to your oncologist about the circumstances of your exposure, such as when it happened, the type of exposure (occupational, environmental etc.) and its duration and frequency.
Due to the complexity and rapid progress of the disease, specialized treatment is also crucial. A multimodal treatment approach has proved to be significantly more efficient in keeping the symptoms of mesothelioma under control when the condition has been diagnosed in its early stages. It is crucial to get appropriate treatment as soon as possible, as the number of effective treatment options available decreases with the advancement of mesothelioma. However, even if your disease is very severe, you can still receive treatment which might significantly improve your prognosis. One or a combination of the following treatment options is available for patients with mesothelioma:
Alternative treatments are also available if you suffer from mesothelioma. Nevertheless, you should always discuss with your oncologist first, as some alternative therapies might interfere with standard treatments. You can also opt for undergoing experimental treatments in a clinical trial which may prove to be highly beneficial for your condition.
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.