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Diagnosing Mesothelioma

Diagnostic Testing for Asbestos Cancer

Diagnosing malignant mesothelioma can be difficult. Mesothelioma is often diagnosed as a lung cancer or initially as pneumonia because several of the symptoms of mesothelioma are also symptoms of pneumonia and similar conditions.

Factors Involved in Diagnosing Mesothelioma Include:

  • History of asbestos exposure: direct, bystander, household, schools, offices
  • Symptoms appearing 15 plus years after first exposure (latency).
  • Shortness of breath on exertion or at rest.
  • History of decreased exercise capability.
  • Dry cough.
  • Stethoscope examination showing bilateral crackles or rales in both lungs.
  • Chest film evidence of asbestos scarring
  • Progression of scarring on films over time.
  • Pulmonary function tests showing a restrictive defect and/or an obstructive defect in non-smoker

The following are several tests that a physician may have the patient undergo.

CT Scans

A CT scan — also called CT, computerized tomography or CAT scan — is an X-ray technique that produces images of your internal organs that are more detailed than those produced by conventional X-ray exams.

PET Scans

A positron emission tomography scan ( PET scan ) is a unique type of imaging test that helps doctors see how the organs and tissues inside your body are actually functioning.

Effusions / Cytology

Diagnosis of diseases based on examination of individual cells and small clusters of cells, called cytology or cytopathology, has become increasingly important in cancer diagnosis.

Tissue Biopsy

A biopsy is the removal of a small piece of tissue for laboratory examination. There are several different types of biopsies.


When lung cancer is diagnosed, the doctors want to learn the stage of the disease. Staging is a process used by physicians to describe the extent of the disease or how advanced the cancer is. Staging assists the physician in determining the likely course of the cancer and how it may respond to different treatments (also known as the prognosis of the disease).


MESOMARK, a manual enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), works by identifying serum tumor markers called soluble mesothelin-related peptides (SMRP). These proteins are released into the bloodstream by malignant mesothelioma cells. FDI's mesothelioma assay is a two-step immunoassay that quantitates SMRP in human blood using a standard ELISA microplate sandwich assay format.

If you or a loved one was recently diagnosed with mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure, we invite you to contact us today to learn your legal rights and options. We are passionate advocates for mesothelioma patients, and dedicate 100% of our practice to helping these victims fight for justice. 

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