Mesothelioma cannot be cured, but early detection can add years to your life. New treatments are constantly being researched and developed, and recent advancements will allow some patients to survive for up to five years, something that was previously unlikely. The best new treatments are normally offered only to those in the early stages of mesothelioma, because this is how the treatments can produce the best results. A person in the late stages cannot be effectively treated.
One of the biggest hurdles to early detection is that people who have mesothelioma are not always aware that they have been exposed to asbestos. The majority of victims have worked in a high risk industry at some point in their lives, but asbestos is also found in older homes and buildings.
If you are experiencing mesothelioma symptoms and you think that you could have been exposed to asbestos at some point in your life, you should ask your doctor about getting a mesothelioma screening immediately.
There are several types of imaging that your doctor may recommend, usually starting with the least expensive and most widely available, which is the X-ray. If more accurate imaging tests appear to be needed, they will then be prescribed. Imaging methods include:
- Computer tomography (CT scan)
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- Positron Emission Tomography (PET scan)
Imaging is not a final diagnostic step, but it can indicate whether there is a need for more invasive diagnostic procedures.
Pulmonary Function Tests (PFTs)
Pulmonary function tests evaluate lung functioning and are used when pleural mesothelioma is suspected. They measure:
- How much air your lungs can hold
- How quickly air moves in and out of your lungs
- How much oxygen your lungs transfer from the air into your bloodstream
A biopsy is an invasive surgical procedure and is used in cases where less invasive tests have indicated the presence of cancer. A small piece of tissue is removed from your body, which doctors examine under a microscope to see if it is cancerous.
If you have developed mesothelioma from your exposure to asbestos, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your damages. The mesothelioma lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers will evaluate your case and advise you of the best way to proceed.