Asbestos-caused diseases are commonly the result of working for many years in environments like brake shops, shipyards and the construction industry – where there’s a chance of asbestos particles contaminating the airspace. The cancer mesothelioma is one of the most common types of these asbestos-related illnesses.
Patients usually don’t discover they have mesothelioma until after they have difficulty breathing. These patients may end up in the doctor’s office for a routine exam, only to discover after various tests that they are suffering from this life-threatening cancer.
What factors do doctors look for?
To confirm a mesothelioma diagnosis, doctors will review the following factors:
The patient’s work history: Did the patient work in an industry or an old building where asbestos could have been present? If yes, what was the length of time the patient was employed in this position?
Results of various exams: The most common preliminary testing methods used by doctors hoping to rule out mesothelioma include:
- Pulmonary function exams
- Chest X-rays
- Magnetic resonance image scans (MRI)
- Computer tomography scans (CT)
Analysis of a biopsy sample: After analyzing the above information, a treating physician who suspects his or her patient is suffering from mesothelioma will order a biopsy to definitively test for the condition. If the biopsy tests positive for mesothelioma, the doctor will begin treatment immediately.
When treating mesothelioma
Treatment for mesothelioma may not be completely successful. Doctors do their best to slow the progress of the mesothelioma cancer and stunt or halt the growth of additional cancer cells. In some cases, doctors will treat a patient with various cancer therapies, and even perform surgery.
Research physicians are constantly developing new and more effective treatments for mesothelioma so it’s important that patients stay up to date on their treatment options in case of new medical approaches to the condition.
Filing a workers’ compensation claim for mesothelioma
Finally, if you or a loved one has contracted mesothelioma, you may be facing stiff medical bills. However, if the condition is job-related then patients may be able to pursue a workers’ compensation claim to help pay for medical care and time spent unable to work as a result of the disease.