mesothelioma prognosis is often difficult to determine, because
the symptoms are similar to those of a number of other conditions.
Determining a mesothelioma prognosis begins with a review of
the patient's medical history, including any history of asbestos
exposure. A complete physical examination may be performed, including
x-rays of the chest or abdomen and lung function tests. A CT
(or CAT) scan or an MRI may also be useful. A CT scan is a series
of detailed pictures of areas inside the body created by a computer
linked to an x-ray machine. In an MRI, a powerful magnet linked
to a computer is used to make detailed pictures of areas inside
the body. These pictures are viewed on a monitor and can also
Biopsy Can Aid In Certainty of Mesothelioma Prognosis
A biopsy is needed to confirm a mesothelioma prognosis. In a biopsy,
a surgeon or a medical oncologist (a doctor who specializes in
diagnosing and treating cancer) removes a sample of tissue for
examination under a microscope by a pathologist. A biopsy may
be done in different ways, depending on where the abnormal area
is located. If the cancer is in the chest, the doctor may perform
a thoracoscopy. In this procedure, the doctor makes a small cut
through the chest wall and puts a thin, lighted tube called a
thoracoscope into the chest between two ribs. Thoracoscopy allows
the doctor to look inside the chest and obtain tissue samples.
If the cancer is in the abdomen, the doctor may perform a peritoneoscopy.
To obtain tissue for examination, the doctor makes a small opening
in the abdomen and inserts a special instrument called a peritoneoscope
into the abdominal cavity. If these procedures do not yield enough
tissue, more extensive diagnostic surgery may be necessary.
If the prognosis is mesothelioma, the doctor will want to learn
the stage (or extent) of the disease. Staging involves more tests
in a careful attempt to find out whether the cancer has spread
and, if so, to which parts of the body. Knowing the stage of
the disease helps the doctor plan treatment.
Mesothelioma is described as localized if the cancer is found
only on the membrane surface where it originated. It is classified
as advanced if it has spread beyond the original membrane surface
to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes, lungs, chest
wall, or abdominal organs.
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