Symptoms of mesothelioma may include shortness of breath and pain in the chest. These symptoms will not usually become apparent until perhaps 30 years or more after exposure to asbestos.
These symptoms are a result of an accumulation of fluid in the pleura and usually indicate pleural mesothelioma. Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include weight loss with abdominal pain due to swelling caused by a buildup of fluid in the abdomen. Other symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma may include bowel obstruction, blood clotting abnormalities and anemia. The cancer can spread to other parts of the body with associated symptoms.
These symptoms may be an indication mesothelioma or could be as a result of other, less serious conditions. It is therefore essential that you consult a doctor immediately on evidence of any of these symptoms.
Diagnosis of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a difficult cancer to diagnose, partly because the symptoms can be similar to other a number of other conditions. The first stage of diagnosis starts with a review of medical history, especially consideration of possible asbestos exposure. X-rays of the chest or abdomen and lung, along with a CAT scan or an MRI scan may also be recommended.
If there is suspicion of mesothelioma, a biopsy will be performed to confirm diagnosis. This procedure involves removal of a small tissue sample which is then analyzed for evidence of cancerous cells.
If a positive identification of mesothelioma is made, the doctor will then determine the extent of the cancer. Staging involves more tests in order to identify whether the cancer has spread. This information will be used to determine the best course of treatment.
Mesothelioma is described as localized if the cancer is found only on the membrane surface where it originated. It is classified as advanced if it has spread to other parts of the body, such as lymph nodes, lungs, chest wall, or abdominal organs.
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