Mesothelioma is a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, so when mesothelioma is suspected, Louisiana doctors will take a thorough medical history, as well as attempt to identify whether you are likely to have been exposed to asbestos. For most people who develop mesothelioma, this occurred in the workplace years or decades ago, though in some instances, family members have developed mesothelioma from second hand exposure to asbestos fibers.
To arrive at a diagnosis of mesothelioma, a number of approaches may be used.
Imaging is a common first step, and can help doctors determine whether problems like coughing or shortness of breath are caused by cancer or something else.
CT scans (Computed Tomography scans), PET scans (Positron Emission Tomography), and MRIs (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) can all provide doctors with valuable visualizations of structures within your body. Tests like echocardiograms and chest X-rays can reveal abnormalities in the functioning of the heart and lungs.
There are also blood tests that can provide additional evidence of mesothelioma. Testing the blood for elevated levels of osteopontin and a peptide called SMRP is considered suggestive, but not diagnostic. Still, combined with imaging, blood tests can provide a strong basis from which doctors can decide whether more invasive procedures, like biopsies, are needed.
If that is the case, then your healthcare team will want to examine tissue and fluid from areas where mesothelioma is suspected. There are a number of ways to do this, from needle biopsies to various endoscopic options, which are among the least invasive methods, to open surgical biopsy.
A mesothelioma diagnosis is hard on every family, but there is help. The attorneys at The Gertler Law Firm can make sure you have access to all the resources available to fight this disease.
Call us today at (504) 581-6411 for a free consultation with a New Orleans mesothelioma attorney.