How is Mesothelioma Detected?
After asbestos exposure, it can take anywhere from 10 to 50 years to develop symptoms of mesothelioma. Many victims are not aware of having been exposed to asbestos, and the symptoms can mirror symptoms of many other illnesses.
If you know or suspect that you have been exposed to asbestos you should talk to your doctor about mesothelioma and screening. You may have been exposed at work or at home, especially if you live or have lived in an older home.
High risk work environments include:
- Oil refineries
- Auto repair
If you have lived in the same home with someone who worked around asbestos you may have been exposed as well.
Listening to your lungs
If mesothelioma or other asbestos-related illness is suspected, the first thing your doctor will do is listen to your lungs with a stethoscope for crackles and high pitched sounds.
X-Rays and CT scans are used to view your lungs. An X-ray can reveal shadows, and dark spots, and plaques. X-rays may not be accurate if you smoke.
CT scans are much more detailed and can give more accurate results. They are similar to an X-ray, but create high definition 3-D pictures of your lungs, and can show flat, raised patches indicative of asbestosis.
Pulmonary function tests (PFT) are used to determine how well your lungs are working. They measure:
- How much air they can hold
- How quickly air moves in and out of them
- How much oxygen is transferred from the air into your bloodstream
A biopsy involves removing a small piece of tissue and examining it visually, under a microscope, to see if it is cancerous. This is more invasive than other diagnostic methods and is normally only performed if other tests reveal a lesion, tumor, or nodule.
New blood test
Mesomark is a blood test which was approved by the FDA in January, 2006, for mesothelioma patients. Right now it is only approved for monitoring the cancer in people who are already known to have it, but in the future it may become an important diagnostic tool.
If you or a loved one has developed mesothelioma or asbestosis, contact an experienced asbestos exposure attorney today.