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Making a diagnosis of mesothelioma is often difficult, because the symptoms seen with this disease are similar to those of many other medical conditions. In order to make a diagnosis, a doctor will review the patient's medical history, conduct a physical exam, and recommend specific tests and procedures to confirm the diagnosis. Some of these tests and procedures may include CT scans, biopsy, and surgery.

Mesothelioma Diagnosis: An Overview

Making a mesothelioma diagnosis is often difficult because mesothelioma symptoms are similar to those of a number of other conditions.
In order to make a diagnosis of mesothelioma, the healthcare provider will begin with a review of the patient's medical history, including any history of asbestos exposure. He or she will then perform a complete physical examination to look for signs or symptoms of mesothelioma. The doctor may also order some preliminary tests to rule out other, more common conditions. These tests can include x-rays of the chest or abdomen and lung function tests.

Tests and Procedures

If the doctor suspects mesothelioma after the history and physical exam, he or she may order a number of tests to help make a diagnosis.
Some of these tests include:
  • CT Scan
  • MRI
  • Biopsy
  • Thoracoscopy
  • Peritoneoscopy
  • Surgery.
A CT (or CAT) scan or an MRI may also be useful in making a diagnosis. 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 be printed.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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