Mesothelioma: Tests, Diagnosis, and Treatments

Mesothelioma is cancer of the mesothelium, a protective membrane that lines many of the body’s internal organs. Most often, mesothelioma occurs in the lining of the lungs, called the pleura.

Mesothelioma is most often diagnosed after a patient sees a doctor because of symptoms such as pain in the lower back, shortness of breath, fatigue, weight loss, abdominal pain and/or swelling. But symptoms alone will not tell your doctor if you have mesothelioma. A medical history, physical exam, and diagnostic tests are necessary to confirm a mesothelioma diagnosis.

Medical History and Physical Exam

Because mesothelioma is uncommon, it is often misdiagnosed initially. If you have symptoms that suggest you might have mesothelioma, your doctor will likely take a complete medical history to check for symptoms and possible risk factors, especially asbestos exposure. Exposure to asbestos is the No. 1 risk factor for mesothelioma.

Your doctor will also ask about your general health and perform an exam to check for possible signs of mesothelioma. These may include fluid in the chest cavity, abdomen, or pericardium (the thin membrane around the heart).

Depending on the findings of the exam, your doctor may refer you for mesothelioma testing.

Mesothelioma Tests

There are several different types of mesothelioma tests. These include:……

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