How is mesothelioma diagnosed?
Diagnosis 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 biopsy confirms a diagnosis of mesothelioma. In a biopsy, a surgeon or a medical oncologist removes a sample of tissue for examination under a microscope by a pathologist.
(See Pathology Diagnosis to learn why some patients request a second opinion.)
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.