Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that's linked to exposure to asbestos. It usually takes several decades to be recognized, so patients are often in later stages of the disease by the time they seek treatment.
There is another issue with diagnosing mesothelioma, which is that it appears similar to many other illnesses. Someone may seem to have pneumonia or asthma, for instance, but actually be in the early stages of mesothelioma.
One of the ways to identify mesothelioma is through a biopsy. Biopsies remove a portion of tissue for laboratory examination. However, since that tissue may be in one of several places, you might need to have surgery to have it removed for testing. In some cases, a small needle can be passed through the skin to collect a sample, which is slightly less invasive.
What happens if mesothelioma is identified?
If you do have mesothelioma, then the doctor will determine how far it has spread and how serious it is. The earlier the cancer is found, the better your chances of survival are. Your medical provider will use positron emission tomography (PET), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and/or CT scans to identify how far the cancer has spread. You'll be told what stage of cancer you have. Stage I is the earliest, with Stage IV being a late-stage form that has spread throughout several parts of the body. You won't be given a formal stage if you have a form of mesothelioma other than pleural mesothelioma.
If you develop this condition, reach out to an experienced attorney. Many people who develop mesothelioma were exposed in the workplace, so you might be able to take legal action to seek compensation.