Peritoneal Mesothelioma Diagnosis starts with a careful study of the patient’s medical history, followed by physical examination and diagnostic tests usually x-rays, CT scan and MRI.
Due to its latency period, mesothelioma can be one of the most difficult cancers to diagnose. While the condition itself is relatively rare, people working in some professions, such as heating/cooling installation and ship construction, are more likely to develop the condition. This is because people in those positions have likely been exposed to asbestos.
Patients with peritoneal mesothelioma may experience a variety of symptoms:
- Pain in the abdomen may be caused by tumor development or fluid retention.
- Abnormal fluid retention in the abdominal area may lead to bloating, nausea, and swelling in the extremities.
- Patients may experience a decrease in appetite that may result in weight loss.
- The small or large intestine may become obstructed.
- Patients may develop anemia, a condition in which the iron level is lower than normal.
- Since cancerous tumors are foreign to the body, the immune system is constantly working to rid itself of them. Thus, frequent fevers may signify that the body is trying to fight an infection.
These symptoms may appear similar to those of less serious conditions, but, when they are coupled with exposure to asbestos, mesothelioma is the more likely answer. As a result, patients experiencing any of these symptoms should seek a physician. The earlier mesothelioma is detected, the better the patient’s chances for successful treatment and prolonged life expectancy.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma Diagnosis Process
The first step to a successful peritoneal mesothelioma diagnosis is for a doctor to carefully review a patient’s medical history. The doctor will then order a physical examination, along with x-rays or other diagnostic tests. To look for cancer in the peritoneum, a doctor will order a CT scan or an MRI. He or she will be looking for fluid buildup in the cavity between the membrane and the patient’s organs. Additionally, these advanced imaging techniques can reveal lumps in the peritoneum that point to the locations of tumors.
A CT scan or MRI can reveal two different patterns of lumps, known as “wet” and “dry” types of mesothelioma. The “wet” type consists of many smaller lumps, with no centralized tumor, along with the presence of fluid in the peritoneal cavity. The “dry” type has either many smaller lumps or one centralized larger mass, with little or no fluid present. The doctor will then check these areas for cancerous cells. Peritoneal fluid can be drained from the patient and then investigated, but the absence of them in a sample does not necessarily rule out mesothelioma.
Alternately, a PET scan may be performed for Peritoneal Mesothelioma Diagnosis, which uses an injection of a sugar solution with a small amount of radioactive dye. The dye lets the doctor see which cells are taking up and using the highest amounts of sugar. Cancerous cells tend to utilize larger amounts of sugar because they are constantly dividing. Consequently, a positive PET scan will reveal the presence of spots of high sugar uptake in the peritoneum.
After these imaging tests, the doctor may then perform a biopsy on one of the cell masses revealed by CT, PET, or MRI. He or she will use a technique known as laparoscopy, which involves opening up a patient with a small incision in the abdomen and extracting a tissue sample. A positive result from a biopsy can confirm Peritoneal Mesothelioma Diagnosis.