If you have been exposed to asbestos, perhaps as a construction worker or a firefighter, you may have symptoms that indicate the possibility of mesothelioma.
What kind of tests will your doctor order? If pleural mesothelioma is the diagnosis, what is the stage of your disease and what type of treatment can you expect?
A range of tests
After performing a physical exam to check for lumps or other signs of mesothelioma, your doctor will order imaging scans. While you may not need every test, these could include a chest and abdomen CT scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or positron emission tomography (PET). The tests will help your doctor assign a stage for your cancer; the stages, expressed in Roman numerals, range from I to IV. The lower numerals indicate the localization of the disease around your lungs. The higher numerals indicate that the cancer has spread.
If the cancer is in the early stages, surgery is a likely option to remove the mesothelioma. Surgery can also decrease fluid buildup in your chest or remove the tissue lining in your lungs to help relieve your symptoms. The surgeon may also remove a lung for the same purpose.
Your doctor may prescribe chemotherapy or radiation therapy to kill cancer cells. Other treatments for mesothelioma include immunotherapy, which works through your immune system, or targeted therapy in which drugs attack specific cancer cells.
The treatment plan your doctor recommends depends on your state of health and cancer stage. If you believe a negligent act resulted in your mesothelioma, you may wish to consult with an attorney. Accountability must rest with anyone who knowingly exposed you to asbestos.