Mesothelioma is a cancer that develops from cells covering so-called serous membranes. It usually develops within the serous membrane lining the inside of the chest, abdomen and lining the inside of the sac in which the heart is located. Very rarely, this cancer can occur elsewhere. How do you diagnose mesothelioma?
In most cases, mesothelioma is malignant, which means it can cause metastasis. Rarely, it may have the character of a benign tumor, which means that it has no ability to form distant metastases, but its clinical course and special location cause significant and dangerous health consequences.
The observed increase in morbidity and deaths in the last decade most likely results not from actual higher morbidity, but from the improvement of diagnostic methods, both in the possibility of collecting the material for testing, and the precise pathological assessment allowing differential diagnosis with metastatic adenocarcinoma. The availability of computed tomography and videotoracoscopy and the possibility of immunohistochemical assessment have significantly improved the effectiveness of diagnosis, and the awareness of the existence of therapeutic options in the treatment of cancer, including mesothelioma, is an additional stimulus for doctors diagnosing the patient.
Pleural mesothelioma – diagnostics
Diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma is associated with numerous difficulties. Therefore, the cooperation of an oncologist, radiodiagnostic and pathologist is necessary. In order to establish the most accurate diagnosis, it is necessary to obtain the right amount of material necessary for proper molecular diagnostics.
Unfortunately, in most patients pleural mesothelioma is diagnosed at an advanced stage, with metastases to distant organs being relatively rare.
Like other lung cancers, pleural mesothelioma is diagnosed based on physical and physical examination. As part of the subject examination, an interview is conducted and the patient is asked about exposure to asbestos and felt chest discomfort and shortness of breath. The physical examination consists in assessing the condition of the respiratory system and chest. The first suspicion of pleural mesothelioma may be advanced after chest X-ray and pleural fluid localization. On this basis, approximately 95% of cases are diagnosed. The most accurate image is obtained only after computed tomography. If qualified for surgical treatment, magnetic resonance imaging is also prescribed.
Avoiding exposure to asbestos
For a person affected by cancer it is very important to support close relatives, family and friends. It is also worth mentioning various organizations where you can receive specialist psychological help and meet people with similar problems. There are many foundations and associations for people with cancer. Courses and support groups are organized for both patients and their families to facilitate the management of this serious disease