Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Unfortunately, mesothelioma is a very difficult to diagnose as it is often detected well into advance stages of the disease. Often 20 to 50 years will go by from the initial asbestos exposure until characteristics of mesothelioma are evident. Typically, patients are often diagnosed with mesothelioma 3 to 6 months of first signs of the diseases which is most often abdomenal and chest pain and breathing problems.

Patients that are suspected to mesothelioma are given a number of tests to determine whether or not the disease is present. These tests include chest X-rays, CT scan, PET scan, and/or and MRI scan. These tests will determine if and where mesothelioma is present and at what stage.

Doctors will also do tissue and fluid tests (also known as biopsy tests) to determine if cancer cells are present. These tests involve small samples of body tissue and fluids. Such tests may include:

  • Thoracoscopy test- a test that is used when pleural or pericardial mesothelioma is suspected. This test involves producing a small tissue through the chest wall via a small incision.
  • Fine Needle Aspiration test - a long, hollow needle is used to extract fluid samples from such places as the pleural membrane of the lungs.
  • Bronchoscopy and Laparoscopy test - similar to the thoracoscopy test but done in other areas of the body.
  • Mediastinoscopy test - used to to view the lymph nodes in the chest and to see the stage of cancer and whether it has spread

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