Mesothelioma Diagnosis & Treatment
It is complicated to diagnose mesothelioma. Most patients have few mesothelioma symptoms until the condition is far advanced. Some doctors are unfamiliar with the symptoms. The time between exposure to asbestos and the development of symptoms takes decades, and the disease only gets worse after asbestos exposure has ended.
If a doctor sees typical mesothelioma symptoms (severe chest pain, shortness of breath, persistent cough, difficulty swallowing, loss of weight, fever, rasping, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite), he will do a complete exam and review your medical history.
If he suspects that you have mesothelioma, he will then order asbestos testing, such as a biopsy in which a tissue sample is taken and examined. Once a mesothelioma diagnosis has been made, further tests may be done to determine how far the disease has progressed and to prescribe appropriate mesothelioma treatments.
It is not easy to face a mesothelioma diagnosis. The malignancy period of mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos is so long that many patients are often too far advanced to hope for effective treatment. The average post-diagnosis survival is one to five years.
Many patients may want to consider filing a mesothelioma lawsuit after they are diagnosed with the disease. An experience mesothelioma lawyer can assist you with you case and help to recover medical costs or other damages.
Testing For Mesothelioma and Other Asbestos Diseases
Workers and other individuals who were exposed to asbestos may be eligible to receive testing at no out of pocket expense to determine whether they may have an asbestos-related disease. Some of the illnesses that have been linked to asbestos exposure include mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, pleural diseases, lung cancer, stomach cancer and throat cancer.
Individuals who worked with asbestos on the job may qualify for asbestos testing at no out of pocket expense if they were exposed to asbestos before 1982 and for a period of at least five years. Some of the jobsites at which workers may have been exposed to asbestos include aluminum plants, chemical plants, metal works, oil refineries, power plants, shipyards, US Navy or Merchant Marines ships, steel mills, oil rigs and other jobsites.
Asbestos testing sessions are periodically performed by doctors at large hospital in major cities. Workers who qualify may also be able to obtain a voucher in order to obtain private testing at a nearby medical facility.
Individuals who undergo asbestos testing will receive a chest x-ray, which is used to look for the signs of diseases caused by asbestos exposure. After this x-ray is examined by a doctor, individuals may also undergo a pulmonary exam to test their breathing. The information gathered from these two exams will be evaluated by a doctor to make a diagnosis.
There is no cure for mesothelioma, and mesothelioma symptoms do not emerge until years after exposure to asbestos or products with asbestos has occurred. This makes a proper diagnosis difficult to obtain. When the illness is discovered and treatment is administered, it is often too late to be very effective.
The treatment option selected depends on various factors, such as the types of mesothelioma and the sufferer’s age.
There is no procedure to remove mesothelioma from the body, but doctors can perform surgery to alleviate some suffering. They can perform various types of surgery, such as removing part of the lung, total lung removal, draining fluid from the lungs or removing the lining that surrounds the organs.
Even though this can be successful in treating many forms of cancer, chemotherapy is a less common option than surgery in a mesothelioma case. Drugs can fight cancer by prohibiting the growth on cancerous tumors by stopping cell division. However, mesothelioma is not easily treated with chemotherapy because by the time symptoms show, the cancerous cells have embedded themselves deep into layers of dead cells. In addition, drugs do not work instantly, and mesothelioma patients don’t have much time.
Another problem associated with chemotherapy involves the chemical toxicity level, which can make the patient even more ill. If chemotherapy is administered, the drugs cannot target a specific area; instead, they often affect healthy cells and tissue.
Unlike chemotherapy, this treatment can target a specific area of the body, which avoids harming healthy cells. Radioactive sources are placed in the affected area, and radiation is emitted for an entire year.
Although this is not a cure for mesothelioma, it can reduce pain. However, in some cases, the size and location of the tumor make it impossible to just target the cancerous cells, so several treatments are required.
Other mesothelioma treatments
Multimodal—This involves using multiple treatment options.
Photodynamic therapy—Doctors prescribe a drug that specifically attacks the mesothelioma cells. A fiber-optic cable is inserted into the patient’s chest, and a light is turned on to interact with the drug. This interaction helps destroy the cancer cells.
Immunotherapy—This mesothelioma treatment involves boosting a patient’s immune system to help fend off the cancer cells. Essentially, the body’s natural defense is being enhanced during this treatment.
Free Legal Consultation for Victims of Asbestos Exposure
If you or a loved one were exposed to asbestos, contact the law firm of Hissey Mulderig & Friend to find out if you are eligible to receive asbestos testing at no out of pocket expense. Patients who are diagnosed with mesothelioma or other diseases caused by asbestos exposure may also qualify for a free legal consultation to find out if they are eligible to file a lawsuit.
To learn more about asbestos testing and to schedule a free legal consultation, contact Hissey, Mulderig & Friend by calling toll-free at 1-866-863-3848. You can also reach us by filling out our free case evaluation form located on the right side of this page.