How do medical professionals test for mesothelioma?

On Behalf of | Jul 26, 2021 | Mesothelioma |

Many companies throughout Tennessee hire workers who spent some of their lives working around asbestos. In the past, it wasn’t widely known that asbestos exposure caused mesothelioma. However, there is now a clear link. With that in mind, here’s more information about how medical professionals test patients for mesothelioma.

Tissue or fluid samples

In many cases, mesothelioma causes fluid build-up throughout the body. Because of that, a medical professional will sometimes test for this condition by finding where this fluid is building up. Next, they’ll take a small sample of this fluid and examine it for the presence of any cancer cells.

Blood tests

People dealing with asbestos-related mesothelioma often have high concentrations of osteopontin, fibulin-3 and mesothelin-related peptides in their blood. With that in mind, a blood test allows a healthcare professional to determine if you have mesothelioma.

Biopsies

Sometimes, a medical professional will decide that removing a tissue sample is the best way to test for mesothelioma. It’s important to note that there are several ways for a skilled professional to perform a biopsy.

You might receive a needle biopsy, which involves a needle going through the skin. In other cases, you might need a slightly more invasive surgical biopsy. It’s also possible to receive a thoracoscopy, which involves a small lighted scope going through an incision in the patient’s skin.

Imaging tests

A health care professional can also test for mesothelioma by using X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, or positron emission tomography.

A chest X-ray might show if there are any calcium deposits on the lung’s lining. A CT scan is a more in-depth way to detect mesothelioma by creating multiple X-rays of the body. With MRI scans, professionals use a combination of magnets and strong radio waves to create extremely detailed images of a patient’s body.

If you’re receiving positron emission tomography, you’ll receive a shot of a special compound. If any cancer cells are present, they’ll absorb this compound. When this happens, it causes cancerous cells to appear brighter than normal during the PET testing process.