What is Mesothelioma?
Malignant mesothelioma is a rare cancer caused from asbestos exposure, a mineral that was used extensively in practically anything for its heat-resistant properties. After the dangers of asbestos were known, its use has been strictly regulated. Unfortunately, asbestos is still lurking throughout older homes (before the 1980’s), including in the insulation, drywall, and roofs.
Some of the symptoms of mesothelioma include:
· Shortness of breath
· Chest pain
· Fatigue/Weakness around muscles
· Fluid around the lungs
How is Mesothelioma Diagnosed?
If you suspect that you have had asbestos exposure then you are at risk of developing mesothelioma. Doctors use several methods to test for mesothelioma, however a biopsy is the only way to definitively confirm a mesothelioma diagnosis. This usually comes after a series of other tests and scans once symptoms arise. Since mesothelioma is a rare disease it is not uncommon for it to be misdiagnosed as the flu or pneumonia.
Anyone who believes to be or knows they were exposed to asbestos at some point in time, should immediately notify their primary care doctor about their exposure history. This will ensure mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases are not ruled out as the cause of the symptoms.
Most people initially undergo a basic chest X-ray. If an abnormal growth is detected, doctors will recommend a more detailed imaging scan such as a PET scan, CT scan or MRI.
Blood Tests Blood tests are also available, but they do not confirm the presence of mesothelioma. Research is underway to determine if blood tests can aid in early diagnosis for at-risk former asbestos workers.
Biopsies If cancer is suspected, doctors will recommend taking a biopsy or a sample of tissue. Biopsies can confirm mesothelioma cancer cells.
For more information visit The Mesothelioma Center. They are a 100% free resource center for those suffering from mesothelioma and their families. They have the most up-to-date information on everything asbestos and mesothelioma as well as offer 1-1 consultation with their expert Patient Advocates who will help find local treatment centers, doctors, and support groups.
Prepared by David Sides
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