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How is Mesothelioma Diagnosed?

Black handbag with stethoscope looped around it

It has long been known that asbestos exposure leads to mesothelioma and other diseases. The insidious characteristics of asbestos exposure often cause mesothelioma to go unnoticed until the disease has reached the advanced stages. However, with modern diagnostic methods there is a chance that mesothelioma can be caught in time for treatment options to be more effectively implemented. When mesothelioma is suspected or there has been known exposure to asbestos, a comprehensive physical examination should be completed. Typically, abdomen and chest X-rays are taken, and a computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan may be performed as well. If these tests reveal the possibility of mesothelioma, a biopsy will be performed to confirm the diagnosis. If the result is positive, the patient must take steps to treat the cancer and seek financial compensation from those responsible for his or her exposure to asbestos.

When a biopsy reveals that a Pennsylvania or New Jersey worker or family member has developed mesothelioma, a lawyer from Shein Law, Ltd can explain the legal options available for achieving compensation. Contact the New Jersey or Philadelphia asbestos lawyers at Shein Law today to schedule an evaluation of your case.

The Symptoms of Mesothelioma

Early symptoms of mesothelioma can be nonspecific, which can often lead to a delayed or inaccurate diagnosis and varied diagnostic techniques. Patients may report symptoms such as shortness of breath, fever, fatigue, and loss of appetite, which often accompany many other less severe diseases. However, there are symptoms specific to the three types of mesothelioma:

Pleural mesothelioma:

Pleural effusion is one of the most common symptoms of this type of mesothelioma. Fluid builds up between the layers of the mesothelium and causes shortness of breath, sharp pains, and coughing. As the disease progresses, pronounced weight loss, extreme coughing, and severe chest pain occur Continue for more information on pleural mesothelioma.

Peritoneal mesothelioma:

Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma often do not appear until the disease is well advanced, hindering early diagnosis. When they do appear, symptoms include nausea, weight loss, abdominal pains, distension (bloating) of the abdomen, and swelling of the feet. Continue for more information on peritoneal mesothelioma.

Pericardial mesothelioma:

Symptoms of this rare form of mesothelioma include irregular heartbeat, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and persistent coughing. Many symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma result when fluid buildup causes pressure on the heart and lungs. Continue for more information on pericardial mesothelioma.

If you have been exposed to asbestos and recognize any of these symptoms, we urge you to seek medical care as quickly as possible. If an examination reveals that symptoms are the result of mesothelioma, you should seek both medical and legal help. Serving Pennsylvania and New Jersey, our mesothelioma lawyer team will fully evaluate your case and provide the skilled representation you need to successfully obtain compensation from a settlement.

Diagnostic Imaging Techniques

A physician will use several imaging techniques when the presence of mesothelioma is suspected. These technologies can reveal the likelihood of mesothelioma. When diagnostic imaging reveals a suspicious area, the physician will perform a biopsy or extract fluid for microscopic examination to obtain a definite diagnosis.

Chest x-rays can show the buildup of fluid (pleural effusion) in and around the lungs. A tumor or mass may be revealed, and the scarring of asbestosis may also be apparent.

Computed tomography (CT) scans can also reveal pleural effusion. A CT scan can also show pleural calcification and invasion of the cancer into the chest wall.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans allow images to be viewed in various planes, so they are often used to determine how invasive a tumor has become. MRI scans are used prior to surgery to provide a three-dimensional “map” of the tumor for the surgeon.

Positron emission tomography (PET) scans have become vital in diagnosing mesothelioma. In a PET scan, the patient is injected with a fluid that contains radioactive isotopes. The patient lies on a scanning bed, and the scan reveals three-dimensional “hot spots” of increased metabolism, which indicate mesothelioma.

Biopsy Diagnosis for Mesothelioma

A needle biopsy to extract fluid from within the lining around the lung is sometimes used to diagnose mesothelioma. However, because the results of needle biopsies have proven to be less reliable in some cases, tissue biopsies, when available, are used for their better diagnostic accuracy.

In a pleural biopsy, the surgeon makes a small incision in the chest wall, through which a thoracoscope is inserted. The thoracoscope is used to extract a tissue sample, which is delivered to a pathologist for examination under a microscope.

To perform a peritoneal biopsy, the surgeon inserts a peritoneoscope into the abdominal wall through a small incision and removes a tissue sample for examination by a pathologist.

The pathologist is a critical link in the diagnostic chain, since a misdiagnosis could have catastrophic consequences for the patient. Through careful examination of a tissue sample, the pathologist is able to determine if the cells are benign or malignant, and if they are malignant, what kind(s) of cells are present.

After a Positive Mesothelioma Diagnosis – Contact Our Lawyers

Our lawyers have experience with malignant mesothelioma cases and will work hard to get you the settlement you deserve. A diagnosis of mesothelioma can be life-shattering for the asbestos exposure victim and their family, and can often lead to emotional and financial devastation. Negligent manufacturers of asbestos-containing products, employers, company owners, as well as distributors of asbestos products and contractors who utilize asbestos products are liable for the suffering they have caused. If you or a loved one has had exposure to asbestos and lives or works in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, a mesothelioma lawyer from our firm will provide the exceptional representation you need. Contact Shein Law in Pennsylvania or New Jersey to speak with a mesothelioma lawyer about possible financial compensation.

If you think you have been a victim of asbestos exposure, please call Shein Law toll free at 877-SHEINLAW (743-4652), or fill out an online contact form.

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