Malignant mesothelioma is a rare, aggressive form of cancer that affects the membrane lining of the lungs and abdomen resulting from asbestos exposure. It can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms mimic other common illnesses. Unfortunately, a misdiagnosis allows more time for the disease to progress, which is what happened to a 70-year-old Japanese man who died from the disease only seven month after initially seeing his doctor.
The senior’s death brings attention to the need for improved detection and diagnosis procedures. The case is the subject of a new article in the Case Reports in Oncology journal. According to the article, the man showed symptoms that are typical of malignant mesothelioma, starting with one-sided chest pain. However, this is also a symptom of other conditions such as heart, nerve and respiratory problems. A CT scan showed no abnormality in his chest, so doctors treated him for a type of nerve pain called neuralgia.
One month later, the patient developed pleural effusion, or excess lung fluid, on one side of his chest. Doctors tested the man’s lung fluid but, again, the results showed no evidence of mesothelioma, which can happen if not enough of the tumor cells have migrated into the lung fluid. Doctors then performed an FDG-PET scan, as they did suspect mesothelioma. However, even though the scan showed extensive thickening in the man’s pleural membrane, it was not evidence enough for a definitive mesothelioma diagnosis. Doctors also performed a thoracoscopy, which uses a camera to look inside the man’s chest. Again, doctors could not make a definitive diagnosis.
Unfortunately, it was not until the man died and an autopsy was performed that doctors were finally able to make a diagnosis of sarcomatoid mesothelioma, one of the most rare and deadly forms of the disease. There were a number of signs that pointed to mesothelioma, which is a reminder to doctors and clinicians to take action when a patients presents with chest pain, pleural effusion and pleural thickening in people who have a history of exposure to asbestos. A delayed detection or a misdiagnosis can have devastating, often fatal, consequences.
Malignant mesothelioma is a very serious form of cancer and the rate of survival depends largely on early detection and diagnosis, which can be difficult since its symptoms are so similar to many other, less serious, conditions. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you are urged to contact Philadelphia asbestos lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler so that we may fight for your right to the financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us today at 800-569-0899 or contact us online. We represent mesothelioma patients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.