Pleural Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Pleural Mesothelioma Diagnosis focus on tumor tissue, fluid, or pleura to test for the presence and type of mesothelioma and to look for asbestos fibers through chest x-ray as well as a CAT scan of the chest.

Pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the lungs, is the most common form of mesothelioma. It presents with shortness of breath, labored breathing, and chest pains, which are often caused by fluid buildup between the membrane that surrounds the lungs and the chest cavity. Other symptoms might include fever, cold sweats, decreased activity levels, and weight loss. Since these symptoms mimic much less dangerous illnesses, mesothelioma is often misdiagnosed. That’s why it is important to notify the doctor of any previous known asbestos exposure in workplace or possibility of secondary exposure.

Pleural Mesothelioma Diagnosis Process

After taking a medical history and performing a physical exam, doctors usually order a chest x-ray as well as a CAT scan of the chest. Other diagnostic studies focus on obtaining tumor tissue, fluid, or pleura to test for the presence and type of mesothelioma and to look for asbestos fibers. These tissues might be biopsied with a needle, by thoracoscopy or pleuroscopy, or by open thoracotomy.

Treatment Options

After a pleural mesothelioma diagnosis is made, doctors must decide whether the tumor can or should be surgically removed or not. If a patient is diagnosed at an earlier stage, and the cancer is only in the pleural space, surgery might be possible. Very radical surgery is an option for a few, but it entails removing not only the tumor but the pleura, lung, and diaphragm on that side. Patients must be strong enough to tolerate prolonged anesthesia and removal of a lung. Mesothelioma patients usually receive chemotherapy or radiation therapy as part of their treatment as well.