Diagnosing mesothelioma in its early stages is critical for survival — yet it rarely happens for two reasons. First, the latency period is so long that patients don’t put together the number-one cause and risk factor — asbestos exposure — with the onset of symptoms that can come some 15 to 50 years later. Second, since the early symptoms can mimic ordinary respiratory ailments, the diagnosis becomes a process of ruling out common problems as persistent and worsening symptoms develop. Sadly, by then, the window for successful treatment may have passed.
If you know or suspect you were exposed to asbestos at some point in your life, be especially vigilant for symptoms such as these, supplied by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization:
- Persistent pain in the lower back, shoulder or chest wall
- Shortness of breath
- Appearance of a lump or mass on chest wall
- New onset of persistent dry cough
- Coughing up blood
- Persisting loss of energy, fatigue or anemia
- Losing weight for no apparent reason
- Onset of hoarseness or a change in voice
- Persistent swelling of face and/or arms
- Muscle weakness
- Abdominal pain and or distention
- Nausea and or vomiting
- Fluid in the abdominal cavity or in the chest lining
The first-round diagnostic process for respiratory symptoms such as coughing or shortness of breath will likely start with an x-ray. If fluid or other irregularities are found, Ultrasound, MRI, CT or PET scans could follow. Blood work is performed to check for serum markers characteristic of cancer. Based on the results of scans and blood screening, a biopsy may be ordered for final confirmation and staging of the disease.
If you do have these symptoms, contact your doctor right away. If the diagnosis is mesothelioma, you have certain legal rights that must be protected. You should contact the experienced asbestos injury lawyers at Nass Cancelliere who can help you and your loved ones get the compensation that you deserve. If you want to know more, call us.