Mesothelioma occurs most often with people who remove insulation or shingles with asbestos in it. It’s also common in people who mine it. Once the dust particles enter into the air and into the lungs, exposure has occurred and a person is more likely to acquire it. A person who was exposed to asbestos should be aware of the symptoms to watch out for and understand the diagnosis process.
The symptoms vary based on what kind of mesothelioma it is. For instance, pleural mesothelioma affects the tissue surrounding the lungs. It may cause chest pain that’s mainly under the rib cage. A person might experience shortness of breath or painful coughing. Unexplained weight is possible and so are lumps that appear under the skin of a person’s chest. Another type of mesothelioma is peritoneal mesothelioma. This happens inside the abdomen and leads to abdominal pain and swelling. There might be lumps of tissue under the abdomen, and a person may experience unexplained weight loss. Other forms of mesothelioma are extremely rare, so the signs and symptoms aren’t well known, but it is known that the tissue of wherever it is occurring has the potential to swell, and there’s a possibility of pain around the area where the mesothelioma is happening.
Even though there aren’t a great deal of symptoms that signify a person has mesothelioma and the condition is so rare, it’s important for a person to visit the doctor to rule out the possibility of mesothelioma, especially if a person has been exposed directly or indirectly to asbestos.
A physician will conduct a physical exam to look for lumps on the area where the person is experiencing issues and the possible mesothelioma is occurring. A doctor will then order imaging scans in order to further evaluate the area where the swelling, lumps or pain is. Tests like a computerized tomography (CT) scan or an X-ray may be able to determine if there’s a tumor that’s possibly malignant mesothelioma. The physician can conduct further testing, if necessary, to discover if it’s mesothelioma or not. Finding out if it’s mesothelioma can be done through a biopsy, which is an examination of a small portion of tissue. The area of the body that potentially has mesothelioma determines the type of biopsy used. For instance, a fine-needle aspiration removes fluid or tissue using a small needle that goes into the best or abdomen. Having a thoracoscopy means a surgeon inserts a camera into the chest cavity to video tape the inside of the chest cavity, and the doctor will use other tools to retrieve a sample of tissue that’s looked at for mesothelioma tumors. Laparoscopy allows the surgeon to get a view inside the abdomen while he obtains a small portion of tissue to examine for mesothelioma. Thoracotomy opens up the chest to allow the surgeon to see inside the body to check for mesothelioma. A tissue sample may be taken in order to test it for mesothelioma. Finally, there’s a laparotomy surgery that opens up the abdomen to let the surgeon look for signs of mesothelioma. A small sample of tissue can be taken at this time to further evaluate if the patient has mesothelioma or not.