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Mesothelioma Imaging Scans
Mesothelioma Imaging Scans
One of the initial methods of identifying mesothelioma cancer medical professionals utilize is image scanning technology, such as an X-ray, MRI, CT scan, or PET scan. These kinds of devices are the least invasive, and usually the least expensive, of all mesothelioma cancer diagnostic tests.
It is crucial to understand that imaging tests on its own can not diagnose mesothelioma. They can, however, offer valuable information pertaining to whether a tumor exists, if it has spread, and how difficult it might be to obtain a biopsy or undertake surgical treatment all of which is helpful for staging the disease upon diagnosis.
Mesothelioma is a sudden and devastating form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. This terminal disease occurs unexpectedly usually 20 to 40 or more years after asbestos exposure. Anyone can be exposed from everyday locations, such as homes, workplaces, schools, and even by direct contact with someone who has asbestos dust contamination on their clothes. Wives and children of workers that were exposed to asbestos have also been shown to be at risk of this disease as a result of personal exposure to asbestos dust on their loved one’s clothing. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), there is no evidence of any asbestos exposure level that is considered safe. In conclusion, there is not a certain level of exposure that can decrease your chance of developing the disease. All levels will may lead to this unfortunate disease.
If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos and are experiencing symptoms, seek out a mesothelioma experienced physician as soon as possible in order to receive proper treatment. If diagnosis is early you will have access to a wider array of treatment opportunities with more promising results. Additional information and statistics about mesothelioma can be found within this section.
When are Imaging Scans Performed?
Imaging examinations are used to identify and diagnose a variety of diseases and medical conditions. When a patient begins to experience symptoms of mesothelioma cancer, as part of the initial physical examination, a doctor may order an X-ray or yet another type of scan to get a view of what is happening within the body.
While diagnosis is the primary use for imaging scans, they could also be used for various other purposes, such as mesothelioma staging. For instance, MRI scans provide high-resolution 3D model images, which could be beneficial for seeing whether the mesothelioma cancer has metastasized (spread), an indication that the disease has reached Stage 3 or Stage 4.
Types of Mesothelioma
Pleural mesothelioma arises in the membrane which surrounds the lung, called the pleura. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of this deadly cancer.
Peritoneal mesothelioma develops in the lining of the abdominal cavity, called the peritoneum. Peritoneal mesothelioma is less common but is more often found in women than in men.
Pericardial mesothelioma originates in the pericardium, which lines the heart.
After being diagnosed with Mesothelioma, it is suggested that treatment options should be aggressively explored with mesothelioma experienced physicians. There are a number of treatment options for Mesothelioma through surgery, radiation therapy and certain chemotherapy. Several surgeons have pioneered progressive surgical options for mesothelioma victims, including Dr. Harvey Pass, (NYU Langone Cancer Center), Dr. David Sugarbaker (Baylor College of Medicine) and Dr. Raphael Bueno (Brigham and Women’s Hospital). Research on the most effective chemotherapy regimens continues and to date Alimta and Cisplatin have been shown to be very helpful in some patients. ALIMTA is a treatment for malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), a cancer that affects the inside lining of the chest cavity. ALIMTA is used with cisplatin, another anticancer medicine (chemotherapy), when surgery is not an option.
Some Mesothelioma patients may want to explore the latest experimental treatment options and clinical trials. Certain non-conventional alternative therapies are being studied and may provide some benefit to patients with Mesothelioma. Understanding that all forms of Mesothelioma are rare and are considered a form of lethal cancer, it is critical to discuss all available treatment options with your family and the best Mesothelioma expert treating internists, pulmonologists, oncologists and surgeons.
Types of Mesothelioma Imaging Tests
CT (Computed Tomography)
A CT scan (sometimes called a CAT scan for “computer-assisted tomography”) provides images of the same location from many different angles to create a 3D model of the scanned area. In many cases, CT scans are useful in helping doctors diagnose both pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma.
CT scans is a computed image of the internal tomography of an individual. The CT machine is a donut-shaped device than can be positioned to scan the affected area. CT scans use a series of X-ray images, so precautions regarding radiation exposure are always taken. Due to the dangers posed by radiation, CT scans are rarely used to diagnose pericardial mesothelioma.
Like MRI scans, CT scans produce high-contrast images of the affected areas to clearly show differences between healthy tissue and cancerous masses. However, because CT scans use X-rays, they may not be quite as clear as MRI images. Still, they can be a useful diagnostic tool used by mesothelioma doctors.
PET (Positron Emission Tomography)
As a nuclear imaging technology, PET scans use a completely different process than other imaging types. Specifically, the patient will ingest a radioactive, glucose-based tracer that can be detected by a scanning machine. Fast-growing cancer cells will absorb more of the glucose due to their higher metabolic activity, allowing the PET scanner to distinguish between healthy tissue and cancerous tumors.
With mesothelioma, PET scans can be used to stage the cancer and to determine the viability of certain cancer treatments. For example, if a patient is undergoing chemotherapy, a PET scan can display damaged tissue. The scan is useful for staging mesothelioma by detecting the advancement of the disease. If other surrounding tissue is affected, then scan will produce an image of the metastasis.
A PET-CT scan uses the features of both PET and CT scans to provide enhanced images of the disease. For late-stage mesothelioma, this hybrid may be a critical tool to view and evaluate the advancing cancer.
An X-ray is a radiographic image used in diagnostic evaluation of bones and soft tissue. X-ray exams are frequently used by doctors as a first-level diagnostic tool to understand what is going on in a particular area of the body and to identify whether additional testing is needed.
A chest X-ray is the most common use of X-rays in medicine, and it is a common tool for diagnosing pleural mesothelioma. When an individual exhibits troubled breathing along with chest pain, an X-ray may be used to rule out infections like pneumonia or bronchitis, and it could reveal effusion (fluid buildup) or the presence of a tumor.
For peritoneal mesothelioma, X-rays of the abdomen may uncover an obstruction or blockage of the bowels and intestinal tract, which could indicate the presence of a tumor.
While X-rays are useful for medical diagnosis, they have limited capabilities. For example, due to the relatively low resolution of the images, X-rays are typically unable to detect whether the cancer has metastasized.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
MRI uses magnetic fields, radio waves, and computer imaging to construct 3D images of selected areas within the body. MRI images tend to be much clearer than X-rays and CT scans, and they are usually able to show a contrast between cancerous tissue and healthy tissue. As such, MRI images are used as an important diagnostic tool to detect the presence of mesothelioma and identify the stage of the cancer.
As a diagnostic technique, MRI scans allow physicians to verify the presence of cancerous tumors or cells. They can also show the location of the tumors to perform additional diagnostic tests, such as biopsies.
As a staging tool, a physician may examine an MRI to determine the exact location of the cancer to assign a staging and treatment protocol. In patients who are candidates for surgical resection, the MRI allows surgeons to determine the exact location and extent of the cancerous cells to create a treatment plan.
For many, an MRI is not an entirely comfortable procedure. While the procedure itself is not invasive, it often involves an extended period of lying down within a small, enclosed space. Newer MRI machines are designed to make patients more comfortable and feel less claustrophobic during the scan. In many cases, relaxing music is played to help patients stay at ease during the procedure.
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Costs Related to Mesothelioma Treatment
As with all types of cancer, Mesothelioma costs can be extremely high, often hundreds of thousands of dollars. The costs associated with the disease can be lumped into several categories: Diagnostic Testing Costs, Treatment Costs, Follow up, Recovery and Care Expenses.
How much a family spends on mesothelioma care will likely depend on a variety of factors. Some of these factors include, but are not limited to: the exact diagnosis, the stage when the disease is diagnosed, what is covered by insurance, and even where the patient lives. Asbestos exposure is the only proven cause of mesothelioma, those who are diagnosed with this deadly cancer may be able to receive financial assistance for many different things, from lost income to medical costs, as well as damages for pain and suffering related to the disease. On behalf of the Asbestos Cancer Organization, we would like to recommend that if you or a loved one has been diagnosed, you should strongly consider taking legal steps to help offset this potential financial burden.
Learn more about the financial assistance that is available if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Mesothelioma. Financial aid options available to you can include Mesothelioma trust fund claims and a lawsuit against responsible members of the asbestos industry. Companies that exposed you or your loved one to Asbestos dust are directly responsible for your current condition. You should explore your legal right to compensation from asbestos companies liable for your exposure to asbestos. Here at the Asbestos Cancer Organization we have teamed up with a Top Mesothelioma Law firm. The Lawyers at Goldberg, Persky & White having been fighting and winning Mesothelioma cases for Mesothelioma clients for over 40 years. We highly suggest that if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Mesothelioma that they seek legal consultation with our legal partners at Goldberg, Persky & White. They are the Best of the Best. Their experienced Mesothelioma lawyers will continue fighting Mesothelioma cases for their clients and assist anyone who develops Mesothelioma.
Asbestos Exposure & Cancer
The only known cause of Mesothelioma is Asbestos Exposure. Asbestos dust and particles that have been inhaled or ingested cause inflammation and disruption of normal cell growth on a microscopic level. This can lead to the development of mesothelioma cancer. Thousands of industrial, commercial and consumer products were manufactured with asbestos from the 1940’s through as late as the 1990’s in some cases. Most of these companies knew the deadly effects that exposing their employees and customers would cause and yet still continued to use the deadly substance due to corporate greed. For this reason many lawsuits have been brought against these companies on behalf of Mesothelioma Victims. Understanding that Mesothelioma is a lethal cancer, this directly means that whoever exposed you or your loved one to Asbestos dust is responsible for their death.
Here at the Asbestos Cancer Organization we have teamed up with a Top Mesothelioma Law firm. The Lawyers at Goldberg, Persky & White have been fighting and winning Mesothelioma cases for Mesothelioma clients for over 40 years. We strongly suggest that if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Mesothelioma that they seek legal consultation with our partners at Goldberg, Persky & White. They are the best of the best. Their experienced Mesothelioma lawyers will continue fighting Mesothelioma cases for their clients and assist all persons diagnosed with Mesothelioma.
Most asbestos exposure originates from the thousands of products that contained asbestos. People who worked in industries like steel mills, foundries, power plants, chemical plants, refineries, paper mills, glass manufacturing, iron smelting and aluminum manufacturing from the 1940s through the 1990’s were most likely exposed to asbestos dust. A lot of the insulation, refractories and friction products used by these industries during this time period contained asbestos. Construction workers including laborers, insulators, brick layers, electricians, machinists, millwrights, plumbers, pipefitters, steamfitters, iron workers, boilermakers, carpenters, plasterers, drywall workers and even superintendents, engineers and architects who worked in any form of construction from the 1940’s through the 1990’s could have been exposed to Asbestos dust. There were numerous asbestos containing construction materials sold by the asbestos companies.
The chances of being exposed to asbestos particles in these settings does not decrease even if a worker was never personally handling asbestos containing products. If someone worked in the same area where work with asbestos products was conducted they also inhaled the deadly toxins. Most companies that manufactured or sold asbestos products did not provide warnings to their customers, many workers unwittingly introduced asbestos dust into their homes on their contaminated work clothing, subjecting their wives and even their children to enough asbestos exposure to cause mesothelioma. It has recently been found that some common talcum powders, including baby powder, shaving powders, cosmetic and hygiene talcum powders, contained dangerous levels of asbestos sufficient to cause mesothelioma.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Adenocarcinoma and other lung cancers
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Other cancers affecting abdominal organs
Coronary artery disease
Other heart-related cancers, such as synovial sarcoma
Top Mesothelioma Doctors
Only the best, just for you.
Dr. Raphael Bueno is the Chief, Division of Thoracic Surgery and Vice Chair of Surgery for Cancer and Translational Research at Boston’s Brigham and
Dr. Harvey Pass is a renowned thoracic surgeon that has dedicated his career to bringing increased awareness of the dangers of asbestos exposure.
Dr. Robert Brian Cameron currently serves as the Director of Thoracic Oncology at University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine, Department of Surgery.
Dr. David Sugarbaker is a world-renowned doctor and certified thoracic surgeon widely credited for developing the first tri-modal treatment approach for malignant pleural mesothelioma.
Dr. Lary A. Robinson is currently the Director of the Division of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, Florida.
As director of the mesothelioma program at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas in Houston, Anne Tsao M.D. is one of the nation’s foremost authorities on malignant mesothelioma.
What Treatments are Available for Pleural Mesothelioma?
On behalf of the Asbestos Cancer Organization, we would prefer if you consulted a professional medical physician for any advice related to treatment options and care. We care deeply about your situation and only want the very best for you & your family. We have some of Top Mesothelioma Doctors & Clinical Trials listed on our website. Why not check out the Top Mesothelioma Doctors page or even the Clinical Trials page for more accurate information on who can help you & what clinical trials are available to apply for. We also have some of the Top Cancer Centers listed on our website as well.
Regarding your health, it is always best to make final decisions when speaking to a professional medical doctor. Please contact us and we will do our best to connect you with a Top Mesothelioma Doctor.
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