Part of the reason why mesothelioma is so deadly is that doctors often are not able to diagnose it until the disease is at a more advanced stage. The exact timeframe to diagnose mesothelioma depends on your particular case. Typically, it takes several weeks to even months for doctors to make a mesothelioma diagnosis after numerous tests.
Much also depends on the doctor that you go to once you experience symptoms. Most people do not initially think they have mesothelioma when they have a cough or shortness of breath. You may start with your general practitioner, who may have never seen a case of mesothelioma before. The diagnosis timeframe may also depend on whether you are referred to the right doctors and how long it takes to get appointments.
Doctors Do Not Usually Suspect Mesothelioma Since it Is So Rare
One of the main reasons it is hard to diagnose mesothelioma is that it is rare. Doctors may not generally be thinking about mesothelioma when they are running through the list of potential explanations for the symptoms that you are experiencing. There are roughly 3,000 cases diagnosed in the United States each year. The doctor would need to ask the right questions to know that you were exposed to asbestos and/or talc in the past. It is critical to disclose any possible asbestos and talc exposures.
Other Illnesses Have Similar Symptoms
Doctors may run through a long list of illnesses that present symptoms similar to mesothelioma. Since mesothelioma, in its most common form, is a tumor in the lining of the lungs, they will explore the possibility that you may have other lung conditions. When a patient is suffering from pleural mesothelioma, a doctor may first think that the patient has one of the following:
- Lung cancer
Other forms of mesothelioma also have illnesses that have similar symptoms. For example, peritoneal mesothelioma is often mistaken for other abdominal conditions.
They may even misdiagnose the condition at first. According to the American Cancer Society Journals, 14 percent of all mesothelioma cases are misdiagnosed at first. The rate rises closer to 25 percent in pleural mesothelioma cases since many other conditions present similar symptoms.
Mesothelioma Develops in the Body Over Time
Another of the main challenges is that mesothelioma has a long latency period in the body. Typically, symptoms show up 10 to 60 years after the first exposure to asbestos and talc.
How You Can Help Doctors Diagnose Your Health Condition
The main thing that you can do to speed diagnosis is to inform your doctor that you have had a history of exposure to asbestos /or talc if you experience any symptoms. When doctors know that mesothelioma is possible, they can diagnose it more quickly.
The biopsy that can detect pleural mesothelioma often takes less than an hour, and doctors would have the results shortly after that. A quicker diagnosis can allow doctors to prolong your life expectancy.
Contact Our Philadelphia Mesothelioma Lawyers at Shein Law After an Asbestos Disease Diagnosis
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an asbestos disease such as mesothelioma, our Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyers at Shein Law can provide legal help. Call 877-743-4652 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.