Patients commonly begin by seeing a family physician who examines them and asks about their general health and symptoms. During a physical examination, the doctor will feel the area where there is swelling or pain to see if they can find a lump. The doctor also will listen to a patient’s chest to see if there are any signs of fluid collecting.
After the examination, the doctor may recommend a specialist and hospital for further tests. These tests can expose whether a growth is cancerous, where in the body the cancer originated, and what types of cells are involved. The cell type and cancer’s location play a major role when it comes to planning treatment.
If a patient sees a specialist, then they will be examined, their medical history will be discussed, and they may have some routine blood tests to check their general health. Other tests, such as X-rays and CT scans, will be arranged in the outpatient department.
When testing a patient for possible mesothelioma, doctors typically rely on a combination of a CT-scan and PET-scan. With results from both tests, doctors can get a closer look inside the body and view whether suspect growths are cancerous or noncancerous. Possible cancerous growths are obvious on PET-scans, but not on CT-scans or MRIs. For diagnosing peritoneal mesothelioma, an X-ray, CT-scan and laparoscopy are used. However, surgery is the most precise way to diagnose mesothelioma. Unfortunately, surgical procedures are an invasive and sometimes can’t be performed on patients who are in poor health or experiencing late-stage mesothelioma.