Mesothelioma diagnosis is established through a variety of methods including radiology, cytology, and pathology.
Often mesothelioma is first detected, or suspected, after a chest X-ray (in the case of pleural mesothelioma) or CT scan is taken. However, a mesothelioma diagnosis cannot be made by radiology alone. Chest X-rays may reveal abnormalities consistent with mesothelioma. Tests, such as CT scans, provide more details than chest x-rays and are helpful in staging the cancer after the diagnosis of mesothelioma is made. Among the abnormalities associated with mesothelioma that may be identified by chest X-rays or CT scans are pleural thickening and pleural effusions.
Laboratory analysis of fluid from a pleural effusion is often the first diagnostic mesothelioma test used to determine whether a person has the cancer. Also, cytological examination of fluid often precedes a mesothelioma test, known as a biopsy, which is a more invasive technique.
Diagnosis of mesothelioma can be determined based on cytological examination, particularly where it is combined with cytogenetic analysis of the fluid. However, positive cytology results should be confirmed, if possible. This is done by way of a biopsy of the suspicious tissue. Negative cytology results should also be followed with a biopsy, where mesothelioma is suspected, because cytological examination is not sensitive enough to catch many cases of mesothelioma1.
The most effective way to establish a pleural mesothelioma diagnosis is through a biopsy of pleural tissue or peritoneal tissue, in the case of peritoneal mesothelioma diagnosis. The more tissue that is examined, the more accurate the diagnosis of mesothelioma will be.
For cases of pleural mesothelioma, a transbronchial biopsy can be used, which involves insertion of a tube into the throat and does not require surgery, while providing a small tissue sample. Although less desirable, more invasive surgical procedures that provides a greater tissue sample will support a more accurate mesothelioma diagnosis. After a piece of tissue is removed from the potentially affected body organ, the mesothelioma diagnosis is made through well-established immunohistological staining performed by a pathologist.
Under the law of most states, pain and suffering from mesothelioma may be compensated through the award of money damages, usually obtained with the help of experienced mesothelioma attorneys. In some states other types of damages may also be recovered.
Asbestos litigation affords mesothelioma victims the opportunity to receive financial compensation and hold accountable the companies that caused their asbestos exposure.
- Preserve your rights to bring a legal action against the responsible parties within the limited time frame allowed by law, known as statute of limitations;
- Obtain maximum compensation in your case by being able to:
- Preserve evidence and establish facts of the asbestos exposure while the claimant is still alive and able to provide information;
- File and resolve a lawsuit against the responsible parties before they file for bankruptcy or, if they already have, to obtain compensation before their bankruptcy trust funds run out of money;
- Expedite your case, as courts tend to give higher priority to mesothelioma lawsuits where the claimant is still alive.
1 Renshaw et al., The Role of Cytologic Evaluation of Pleural Fluid in the Diagnosis of Malignant Mesothelioma, Clinical Investigations, Chest, January 1997.