How is mesothelioma diagnosed and treated
Mesothelioma is a cancer that affects the mesothelium, a protective membrane that lines many internal organs of the body. The best way to tackle mesothelioma is to get an early diagnosis. Sudden weight loss, shortness of breath and pain are the major symptoms of mesothelioma. As it is a rare form of cancer, it is essential that the patient consult someone who specializes in mesothelioma.
There are mainly three kinds of diagnosis for mesothelioma. They are:
- Blood tests: When a person is suffering from this form of cancer, three substances, namely fibulib-3, osteopontin, and soluble mesothelin-related peptides (SMRPs), get elevated. Although this is not a sign that confirms mesothelioma, it is certainly an indication.
- Fluid and tissue sample tests: If you have a fluid buildup in your body, then your doctor may extract some of these fluids to check for mesothelioma. This test is named differently according to the place where the fluid has built up in your body:
- Thoracentesis – Fluid in chest cavity
- Paracentesis – Fluid in abdomen
- Pericardiocentesis – Fluid in membrane around the heart
- Biopsies: This includes removing the tissue and testing it for mesothelioma.
There are several types of treatment for mesothelioma. They are divided into surgical methods and nonsurgical methods:
- Wide local excision: This removes the cancerous tissues along with some healthy surrounding tissues.
- Pleurectomy and decortications: The surgeon removes a part of the covering of the lungs, chest linings, and the outside surface of the lungs.
- Extrapleural pneumonectomy: This includes the removal of the whole lung and some part of the lining of the chest, diaphragm and the lining of the sac around the heart.
- Pleurodesis: This involves using chemicals and drugs to scar the lining of the lung and stick it to the lung.
- Radiation therapy: High-energy X-rays and other types of radiation are used to kill the mesothelioma cells or to prevent them from growing.
Chemotherapy falls under this where drugs are used for treatment either by killing the cells or by stopping them from multiplying.
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer and the symptoms are often misinterpreted with some other disease. So if you experience any of the symptoms, a diagnosis by a specialist is recommended.