Asbestos-related cancers can be difficult for doctors to detect, because symptoms can be subtle for a long period of time. For instance, a persistent cough may be indistinguishable from normal allergy symptoms, and a routine doctor’s visit might result in a prescription for a stronger antihistamine drug.
If you are experiencing symptoms you believe may be related to asbestos exposure, you should consult your doctor and ask for additional screening. Be prepared to provide a complete medical history, including work experiences that may have exposed you to asbestos.
Your doctor will order a series of tests to look for signs of mesothelioma. Imaging of the lungs, from x-rays to MRIs, will be used to look for evidence of abnormalities, thickening of pleural walls, venous irregularities, fluid build up, and more. If doctors find anything unusual through imaging, they will than take a sample of the fluid or tissue.
If a needle biopsy is called for, then surgeons may use a variety of techniques depending on the type of sample being sought and the location in your body that they are exploring. Some needle biopsies use imaging devices like CT scans to guide the needle, or even laparoscopic surgical techniques where several small incisions are made and small surgical tools and cameras are inserted into the interior surgical field. Surgeons operate the tools remotely, and healing time is usually very fast.
In other cases, a surgical biopsy will be required. This is particularly true if mesothelioma has already been diagnosed, or the medical evidence strongly points to that diagnosis. Surgeons will examine the affected tissues, take samples for laboratory analysis, and determine how thoroughly cancer cells have infiltrated the tissues. This information is vital for developing a treatment plan.
If you discover that you do have mesothelioma and reside in New Orleans or elsewhere in Louisiana, call the Gertler Law Firm at (504) 581-6411 for a free consultation today.