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Why does it take over three months to diagnose mesothelioma?

Diagnosing mesothelioma is a very complex and challenging process. Its symptoms can be mistaken for the signs of a less severe respiratory condition such as pneumonia and your physician will first try to rule out this possibility. If you still experience unpleasant symptoms, additional tests and diagnostic procedures are required to confirm or infirm the presence of mesothelioma. Therefore, the entire diagnostic process can easily take up to three months.

The diagnostic process of mesothelioma can extend over the course of up to three months due to the complex nature of the disease, as well as because its symptoms overlap other conditions of lesser severity. Consequently, a series of specific tests and examinations are required to rule out the presence of benign conditions and to assess a proper diagnosis if mesothelioma is suspected.

Within the first month, the patient will be prescribed antibiotic treatment for pneumonia in order to eliminate the possibility of misdiagnosis. Your physician will first order chest X-rays, which will show whether fluid is present in your lungs. If your lungs are filled with fluid, this may be a clear sign of pneumonia. Thus, you will be prescribed antibiotics for approximately 10 days and may also have fluid drained from your lungs, depending on the severity of your symptoms.

Following antibiotic treatment, you will need to undergo X-rays one more time. Your lungs will most likely be free of fluid at this point. However, your doctor will ask you to return for a checkup in 30 days and you will be required to have another set of chest X-rays done. If the fluid is found in your lungs again, you will receive the same treatment. Additionally, your physician will also order a more complex test to assess the condition of your lungs, such as a PET scan or a CT scan. Supposing your test results are abnormal, you will subsequently be referred to an oncologist.

Finally, your oncologist will order a series of specialized diagnostic procedures and tests which will accurately evaluate your lungs. This part of the process may take up to two weeks. The following methods will be used in the diagnostic process:

  • Blood tests such as MESOMARK or Fibulin-3, which can detect abnormal levels of certain biomarkers frequently associated mesothelioma
  • Needle, camera-assisted or surgical biopsies to confirm or infirm the presence of cancerous cells within the collected tissue samples
  • Imaging scans (CT scans, X-rays, MRI or PET scans) for a detailed analysis of the chest or abdominal region

The results of these tests will indicate whether you suffer from mesothelioma. If cancer is detected in your lungs, you will receive a formal diagnosis and your oncologist will recommend you the most appropriate treatment regimen, depending on the stage of your disease, your overall health, the cell type of the tumor and other equally important factors. The earlier mesothelioma is diagnosed, the more treatment options are available.

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.