Mesothelioma Essentials: Mesothelioma Information, Support, and Resources
Mesothelioma Information, Support, and Resources
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About Mesothelioma

What is it? | Who gets it? | Symptoms | Diagnosing | Stages

Diagnosing Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma can be difficult to diagnose. Your doctor will need your complete medical history to check for risk factors and symptoms. A physical exam will provide information about signs of mesothelioma and other health problems.

Chest x-rays may show abnormalities around or in the lungs as a result of asbestos exposure and may reveal a pleural effusion. A CT (computerized tomography) scan or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) may also be useful in showing the loss of lung volume and help determine the location, size, and mass of a cancerous growth.

Other diagnostic procedures include thoracentesis, which allows an examination of the fluid in the chest (pleural effusion). In this procedure a doctor inserts a needle into the pleural space to drain fluid for analysis.

A biopsy is often needed to confirm a diagnosis of mesothelioma. In a biopsy, a physician removes a sample of tissue for examination under a microscope. A biopsy may be done in different ways depending on where the abnormal area is located. At times, it may be necessary for your doctor to look inside the chest cavity with a special instrument called a thoracoscope to obtain a tissue sample. A laparoscope may be used to look inside the abdomen. If these procedures are inconclusive, more extensive diagnostic surgery may be needed.



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