What You Need to Know About Mesothelioma Testing

Before mesothelioma patients undergo treatment, in most cases, they’ll need to go through testing first. These tests are used to determine if the tumors are growing and spreading, and for physicians to decide which course of treatment is best.

Pleural Mesothelioma

Pleural mesothelioma attacks the lining and tissues surrounding the lungs. Physicians utilize testing methods that allow them observe and analyze the fluids around the lungs.

The most common type of test for pleural mesothelioma is a mediastinoscopy. A mediastinoscopy is performed when a surgeon cuts a small incision into the chest area and inserts a small tube in order to examine the areas around the lungs and heart.

Although a mediastinoscopy isn’t as invasive as other types of surgeries, patients can normally expect an overnight stay at the hospital or medical center where the procedure takes place. Mediastinoscopy results take between 5 to 7 days.

Mediastinoscopy benefits include:

  • Mesothelioma growth can be detected easier when compared to other types of tests and X-rays
  • Airflow may be improved after fluid is removed from the lungs
  • A diagnosis can be made within a week

A relatively newer treatment, endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS), allows physicians to view organs and surrounding fluids without making an incision. An EBUS procedure is administered by inserting a bronchoscope down the patient’s throat. The bronchoscope contains a endoscope, an aspiration needle, and an ultrasound processor, which allows doctors a clear view of the lungs and surrounding areas.

The benefits of EBUS include:

  • Real-time images of the lungs and surrounding areas
  • Quick results, sometimes within the same day
  • Minimally-invasive
  • Easy patient recovery (the patient can usually return home the same day)

Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Peritoneal mesothelioma attacks the areas around the abdominal region, therefore, physicians utilize testing that allows them to investigate the abdominal lining and fluids.

A endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is generally one of the testing options used for peritoneal mesothelioma, in which an endoscopic tube is inserted into the patient’s throat or the rectum, and into the abdominal area. An EUS allows doctors to examine the abdominal area without the need for an incision. It also produces clear, high-quality imaging via an attached transducer.

Benefits of an EUS include:

  • Short procedure time (the procedure is usually done within a few hours)
  • Quick recovery time
  • Minimally-invasive
  • Generally safer than other procedures that target the same areas

Physician Target Certain Areas

When performing the aforementioned tests, physicians generally look for organ damage, tumor growth, and lymph node changes.

Changes in lymph nodes suggest that there may be a problem with the immune system. Lymph nodes are found in the groin, neck, and armpits, and help trap bacterias and other harmful things that threaten the body. When the lymph nodes are swollen or damaged, it may mean that they are being destroyed by an infection and are not properly killing body threats. Swollen lymph nodes, in particular, may indicate that mesothelioma has started to spread.

If You Have Mesothelioma

Keep in mind that if you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be eligible for significant compensation. Right now, more than $30 billion is available in asbestos trust funds for those who’ve been affected by an asbestos-related illness. We invite you to contact our top mesothelioma attorneys today for a free, no-obligation case consultation.

Sources:

  1. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003864.htm
  2. http://health.ucsd.edu/specialties/pulmonary/procedures/Pages/endobronchial.aspx

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