It’s an established fact that exposure to asbestos increases the risk of mesothelioma. Yet despite the definite link between exposure to asbestos particles and asbestos-related diseases, such as asbestosis, debate has and still continues as to just ‘how much of a risk is present’ in environments where asbestos fibres are discovered.
A significant proportion of the outcome to a mesothelioma compensation case can be dependent on proving, without reasonable doubt, the causal connection between exposure and the onset leading to further development of the disease and it’s fatal consequences.
Undoubtedly, today’s advanced diagnostic procedures are vital and essential to be carried out in every single instance where asbestosis symptoms appear. A diagnosis of mesothelioma will be required by an asbestosis lawyer to be presented as supporting evidence, showing careful assessment of clinical and radiological findings, in addition to tissue biopsy confirmation.
Diagnostic examinations for the assessment of mesothelioma can be conducted by various methods to determine different types of conditions. Accordingly, a specialist will recommend one or more of the following tests:
CT Scan – Computed Tomography ( 10 – 30 mins):
CT scans are able to define pleural effusion, pleural thickening, pleural calcification, possible chest wall invasion. CT cannot distinguish between changes associated with benign asbestos disease, or between a malignant tumour of the lung versus mesothelioma.
MRI – Magnetic Resonance Imaging ( 20 -40 mins):
Possessing greater accuracy than a CT scan, MRI scans are most often used to determine the extent of a tumour prior to aggressive treatment. Images are created in multiple planes, and therefore, are better able to identify tumours as opposed to normal structures. MRI shows a clear diaphragmatic surface and better assessments of the enlargement of specific types of lymph nodes which lie between the two lungs.
PET – Positron Emission Tomography:
Relatively new, PET imaging is now becoming an important part of the diagnosis and evaluation of mesothelioma. Considered more efficient in determining the stages of mesothelioma.
Cells extracted from the pleural cavity for malignancy testing of the pleural fluid are considered to have limited value in diagnosing mesothelioma. Negative or inconclusive readings account for nearly 85 per cent of all fluid tested, and even with a positive fluid report, doctors may opt to perform a confirming tissue biopsy.
Biopsy – Tissue Analysis:
In most cases, it is ultimately, a needle biopsy of the pleura, or an open surgical biopsy, which will produce a confirmed diagnosis of mesothelioma. In a pleural biopsy procedure, a sample of tissue will be removed to be examined under a microscope by a pathologist.