Mesothelioma diagnosis by medical professionals
Mesothelioma diagnosis is very difficult, sometimes it can take months to actually diagnose. The first step in evaluating mesothelioma is to obtain a complete medical history to determine the level and severity of mesothelioma risk. This will consider among other things, where asbestos exposure occurred (place of work), the length of exposure and the amount of asbestos you were exposed to.
After that the first step is usually to drain the build up of fluid between the two layers of the pleura surrounding the lung. (Pleural effusion).
The fluid is then tested, this is known as cytology, although this alone does not usually diagnose mesothelioma.
This is usually then followed by a biopsy, either a CT guided needle biopsy, a video assisted thoracoscopic or an open biopsy where a surgeon opens the chest cavity.
Radiotherapy is sometimes used around the site of the biopsy to prevent the tumour spreading. A biopsy involves removing some of the tissue from the pleura and analysing it using special tests.
Sometimes more than one biopsy needs to be done in order to diagnose mesothelioma.