Diagnostic imaging is just one of the tools that doctors can rely on when attacking mesothelioma. First, it will help to diagnose the patient with mesothelioma. To achieve this, it may be used in conjunction with other modes such as blood tests.
After diagnosis, it is often the most powerful tool in helping to detect the extent and location of tumors, which assist in determining whether the patient is a candidate for surgery. Additionally, it will help to inform the patient how extensive the surgery will be, and the success rate of that surgery.
Diagnostic imagining helps doctors in determining if surgery should even be part of a multiple-modality treatment, which may also include chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or radiation therapy. Each form of diagnostic imaging has various levels of effectiveness.
Imaging tools may include X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and PET scans.
An X-ray will likely be the first line of defense when a patient complains about symptoms that can resemble mesothelioma. These symptoms can include persistent coughing; trouble breathing, such as shortness of breath; and chest pain.
A chest x-ray will show whether there is a thickening around the lungs, which can be an indication of mesothelioma or of another type of asbestos-related condition.
MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. An MRI takes more detailed pictures. Usually a dye is injected into the patient so that a contrast shows up on the images. MRIs use radio waves instead of x-rays to make their images, and the image takes more time to develop.
CT stands for computed tomography, and this procedure can also require the injection of a dye to create contrast in the images. CT scans take cross-sectional images of the body.
CT scans, like x-rays, can also be used for first-line diagnostic purposes.
The CT scan will show where the abnormal tissue is located, and could also show the potential areas where malignant mesothelioma tumors are located within the body.
If treatment is on-going, a comparison of earlier and later CT scans can show the doctors whether there has been progress in the treatments that have been performed.
PET stands for positron emission tomography, utilizing a dye containing radioactive tracers. PET scans are used to look at the entire body. This scan is better able to detect problems on a cellular level, which neither CT nor MRI scans can do. It can be used in combination with a CT or MRI scan to show both general and more detailed images in what is referred to as an image fusion.
The Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler litigate many cases involving contracting mesothelioma in the Philadelphia region. We can help evaluate the case to find information regarding your exposure to asbestos. Our goal is to achieve the maximum recovery for our clients. To make an appointment in our Philadelphia office, call us at 215-569-4000, or contact us online today.