When Your Doctor has Given You a Mesothelioma Diagnosis
A mesothelioma diagnosis isn’t arrived at by a single doctor’s visit, but rather a process that involves a number of visits to a series of medical professionals. Most individuals receive a diagnosis of mesothelioma two to three month after unbearable symptoms first present themselves. So what do you do if you’re presenting mesothelioma symptoms?
A typical mesothelioma diagnosis usually begins when a patient experiences symptoms accompanied with acute to severe pain and subsequently goes to see his or her general practitioner. It’s important when you consult with your doctor to include a summary of your medical history, occupational history and when your symptoms began – even if you have lived with them for decades. Because mesothelioma symptoms mimic those of other illnesses, you might not be given a correct diagnosis on your first visit as most general practitioners usually mistake mesothelioma for being pneumonia or bronchitis.
If your symptoms continue, it would be smart to return to your doctor for additional tests. They are likely to recommend a specialized physician like an oncologist who will order tests that might include x-rays, MRIs, CT scans, PET scans and/or a biopsy. Usually CT scans are an oncologist’s first choice when attempting to make a mesothelioma diagnosis. Biopsies are another choice that most oncologists make in diagnosing mesothelioma. Biopsies are tissue samples or needle aspirations taken from the suspected tumor site. Depending on what kind of diagnosis your oncologist makes, you might be referred out to other specialists for treatment plans. These specialists can be pulmonologists, radiologist or surgeons. You might even seek the advice of an asbestos-related disease specialist.
Once a mesothelioma diagnosis is confirmed, your specialist will go over mesothelioma treatment plans with you. Traditionally, most doctors provide extended advice and instructions on aftercare to the patient in a course of treatment where a two-pronged attack of surgery and chemotherapy are employed. Radiation may also be used to assist in shrinking the tumor. Besides these treatments, the patient might seek to look into experimental treatments which include immunotherapy, gene therapy and alternative medicine that could possibly hold promise for the future of mesothelioma patients. As with most malignancies, early detection is key to long-term survival and an early mesothelioma diagnosis is no different. An early mesothelioma diagnosis can increase treatment options as well as life expectancy.
A mesothelioma prognosis is, more times than not, poor but some individuals have beaten their initial prognosis. Why some live longer than others with mesothelioma depends on many factors including stage of disease, site of tumor, age and overall health of the patient. Although the medical community might not know why some survive a long time and others don’t, many survivors have undergone treatment to strengthen their immune system. A very few have even been survivors for over 15 years. In the end, it is essential for patients to learn everything they can about mesothelioma because it is the key to understanding their condition. Remember that an early diagnosis and proper treatment are essential when it comes to fighting mesothelioma as well as extending your life.