Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer and many patients are not diagnosed until the later stages of the disease. While there is no cure, surgery can be performed to attempt removal of most of the cancer in order to prolong the life of the patient.
Boston mesothelioma lawyers understand it is essential for a patient to have an accurate diagnosis and understand the extent of his health issues before deciding whether to undergo surgery.
A number of different medical tests can be performed on a mesothelioma patient to assess whether mesothelioma has spread throughout the body and whether a particular treatment will be effective. Patients need to seek treatment from specialists with experience in mesothelioma in order to make sure the appropriate diagnostic tests are used so the right treatment method can be chosen. The costs of this medical care should be paid for through workers’ compensation if the asbestos exposure occurred at work, or from compensation from an asbestos victim’s trust or from the asbestos manufacturer.
Pre-Operative Tests Can Help to Determine the Spread of Mesothelioma
Tests performed before surgery are generally done in order to determine the stage by calculating size and spread of the tumor. The most common type of mesothelioma is called pleural mesothelioma. This type of cancer affects the lining around the lungs, so the testing will largely focus on the chest area as well as on other organs that may have been affected. The other type of mesothelioma, which is less common, is called pericardial mesothelioma, and it affects the heart.
When a patient is diagnosed with pericardial or pleural mesothelioma, typically the patient may have a minimally invasive procedure performed wherein a small incision is made in the chest area. A scope is inserted into the incision to look around the area close to either the heart or close to the lungs. Fluids and tissues can be removed with a needle so that further testing can be done to determine the stage of the cancer. This minimally invasive procedure is called a mediastinoscopy.
Another new procedure does not even require an incision to be made. This new procedure is called an endobronchial ultrasound. During this procedure, a doctor will use a bronchoscope attached to an endoscope that has an aspiration needle and an ultrasound processor. This will be put down the patient’s throat and will pass through the trachea to provide the physician with a view of the lungs and smaller surrounding lymph nodes. There are clearer views available for this procedure than when using mediastinoscopy.
Another potential pre-operative test is called pericardioscopy. This is used to determine how extensive the damage to the heart is as a result of the mesothelioma. The procedure involves making a small incision over the heart in order to insert a camera to look around and in order to remove a small sample of cells for testing. For patients with pleural mesothelioma, on the other hand, an endoscopic ultrasound may be the right choice.
These and other tests can be used so a doctor can decide whether surgery is an option. Patients should talk to their physician about their options so they can get the right testing.
If you are exposed to mesothelioma in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.
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