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Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Pursue Justice with Our Skilled New York Mesothelioma Lawyer

Mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure, is difficult to detect in its early stages because it typically takes decades for symptoms to become evident, and those symptoms are shared with many more common medical conditions. Once it is identified, however, patients must submit to rigorous treatment to fight the progression of the disease and maintain their quality of life.

If you or a family member received a mesothelioma diagnosis, a New York mesothelioma lawyer from The Williams Law Firm, P.C. is here to eliminate some of your stress by fighting for the compensation you need so you and your family can focus on treatment and spending time together. An experienced and respected advocate for mesothelioma victims nationwide, Mr. Williams has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for mesothelioma patients and their families.

If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness, our firm is ready to help you explore your legal options. Call us at (855) 575-6376 today.

MESOTHELIOMA SYMPTOMS

Mesothelioma often goes undiagnosed or is misdiagnosed early because patients may attribute symptoms such as shortness of breath, fever, coughing and chest pain to other ailments, such as the flu. Similarly, without knowledge of a patient’s history of asbestos exposure, a physician may not associate these symptoms with the possibility of mesothelioma.

Other common mesothelioma symptoms include:

  • COUGHING UP BLOOD
  • ABDOMINAL OR BACK PAIN
  • CHRONIC FATIGUE
  • LUMPS UNDER THE SKIN IN THE AFFECTED AREA (GENERALLY THE CHEST OR ABDOMEN)
  • DIFFICULTY SWALLOWING
  • LOSS OF APPETITE
  • SUDDEN WEIGHT LOSS
  • NIGHT SWEATS

If you suffer from these symptoms and you worked with or around asbestos, or if you experience these symptoms and you are the family member of someone who had regular contact with asbestos, it’s important to undergo a medical evaluation and alert your doctor about your exposure to asbestos.

DIAGNOSING MESOTHELIOMA

Actual diagnosis of mesothelioma is determined with a tissue biopsy, although doctors employ various techniques to rule out other medical conditions and determine the location and extent of the cancer when mesothelioma is present.

Assessment for mesothelioma typically begins much like standard medical evaluations. Your general physician or oncologist will review your medical history, discuss your occupational exposure or second-hand exposure to asbestos, and conduct a thorough physical examination.

This will be followed by other diagnostic procedures that may include a blood test to check your levels of osteopontin and soluble mesothelin-related peptides (SMRPs). Osteopontin is a type of protein that is most prominent in bones and teeth, and SMRPs are types of molecules that can bond to amino acids; elevated levels of osteopontin and SMRPs are common among mesothelioma victims.

Your doctor may also conduct pulmonary testing to evaluate your lung function, as well as employ X-rays, computerized tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) to pinpoint the presence of tumors and fluid accumulation. Depending on the type of physician who conducted your diagnosis, you may be referred to an oncologist who specializes in mesothelioma for further testing and treatment.

Imaging Tests for Mesothelioma

Imaging tests are relied upon during mesothelioma diagnosis to determine the size and location of cancerous tumors. Modern technology means that imaging scans are precise enough to help doctors determine the stage and progression of cancer. The most common imaging scan used for mesothelioma cases is a combination PET-CT scan using contrast dye. If your doctor uses this method, an oral contrast dye will be injected in a vein (or drank) before receiving your imaging scan. X-rays, CT scans and MRIs may also be used to better visualize the tumor and get more information.

Blood Tests and Biomarkers

Blood tests are often used to help come to a mesothelioma diagnosis, although they cannot confirm a diagnosis alone. A doctor can use a blood test to rule out other possible diagnoses. Two common types of blood tests involved in mesothelioma diagnosis are MESOMARK and SOMAmer. MESOMARK can detect SMRPs, which circulate at higher blood levels when mesothelioma is present. The SOMAmer test detects proteins in blood serum to search for mesothelioma.

Tissue Biopsies

Tissue biopsies are the only way that a doctor can confirm mesothelioma. A tissue biopsy takes a tissue sample from the patient and sends it to a lab for testing. A doctor may opt for a liquid biopsy instead, known as a cytology test. During this test, a doctor removes fluid from the suspected tumor site and tests that for cancer cells instead of a tissue sample. Both processes require a pathologist to examine the sample under a microscope.

Stages of Mesothelioma at Diagnosis

Once different tests and biopsies have confirmed the presence of mesothelioma cancer cells in your body, your oncologist will determine the stage of cancer and recommend a mesothelioma treatment plan, which is important to review with your family and caregivers. Like other cancers, mesothelioma is generally categorized by stages ranging from I to IV:

  • Stage I. Stage I mesothelioma means that cancer cells are localized to a single part of the body. They have not yet spread elsewhere. This is the best stage for a mesothelioma diagnosis for treatment options. However, diagnosis at this stage is uncommon due to little to no noticeable symptoms.
  • Stage II. Stage II mesothelioma means that the cancer cells have spread elsewhere in the body, including the lymph nodes. With pleural mesothelioma, for example, Stage II cancer has spread to one of the lungs, the lymph nodes and possibly the diaphragm. Patients diagnosed with Stage II mesothelioma have similar prognoses to Stage I, patients.
  • Stage III. At Stage III, the cancer cells have continued to spread into further tissues, such as the abdomen or chest cavity with pleural mesothelioma. Symptoms at this stage become more pronounced, making it a common stage for mesothelioma diagnoses.
  • Stage IV. This is the most advanced stage of mesothelioma, where cancer has spread or metastasized throughout the body, including the chest, abdomen, organs and all lymph nodes. This stage has the most severe symptoms and worst prognosis, as many treatment options are not available at Stage IV.

The earlier that mesothelioma is diagnosed, the greater the treatment options are for the patient. The life expectancy for a patient who is diagnosed with Stage I mesothelioma is 1 to 22 months (although many patients have lived much longer). By contrast, the life expectancy when diagnosed with Stage IV mesothelioma is less than 12 months, in most cases. Identifying the stage of the cancer progression is critical for creating the right treatment plan for a patient.

MESOTHELIOMA TREATMENT IF DIAGNOSED

Although there is no cure for mesothelioma, there are treatments that can extend and improve patients’ lives. The best treatment for you will depend on a number of factors, including the stage of mesothelioma, your age, and your general health. Treatment may include a combination of the surgical removal of tumors, chemotherapy, radiation, and medication.

What Does Your Mesothelioma Diagnosis Mean?

Every mesothelioma patient is unique. If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, connect with a dedicated specialist. Find a good oncologist who specializes in treating your type of mesothelioma. Treatments may be available to help improve your quality of life. What a cancer diagnosis means for your life and your future depends on the situation. When you are ready, work with an attorney to help you navigate the legal side of a mesothelioma diagnosis.

IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE WAS DIAGNOSED WITH MESOTHELIOMA, IT CAN BE POSSIBLE TO PURSUE AND SECURE COMPENSATION. USE OUR ONLINE FORM TO REQUEST A FREE CASE EVALUATION WITH US TODAY.

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