Mesothelioma is an aggressive type of cancer that occurs in the tissue layer covering your internal organs. Generally, mesothelioma occurs in the tissue around the lungs, also known as pleural mesothelioma.
Unfortunately, mesothelioma is a rare disease that primarily affects people with asbestos exposure. Those who may have asbestos exposure include construction workers, firefighters and veterans. Since mesothelioma is aggressive, patients benefit from early detection, but unfortunately, early detection can be difficult.
Imaging tests for mesothelioma
If you had exposure to asbestos, your doctor may recommend imaging tests. Regular imaging tests can help doctors locate any changes in your lungs that may represent mesothelioma. Imaging tests may include CT scans or chest x-rays.
Blood tests for mesothelioma
Physicians can also perform blood tests to search for mesothelioma indicators. Patients with mesothelioma tend to have high levels of soluble mesothelin-related peptides and fibulin-3 in their blood. The levels in your blood could help doctors diagnose the disease early or help doctors monitor the condition.
Symptoms of mesothelioma
Most people with a mesothelioma diagnosis set up a doctor’s appointment with complaints of shortness of breath and chest pain. Unfortunately, the symptoms of mesothelioma can also indicate a variety of other more common illnesses. If you had asbestos exposure, it is critical to tell your doctor when you have these symptoms.
Early detection can result in a better prognosis than later detection. In the early stages of the disease, the cancer cells remain in the pleural lining and do not spread through the body’s lymph nodes or other systems.