Getting the Right Diagnosis: Mesothelioma

doctor writing notes

People run the risk of developing a deadly condition through the inhalation of asbestos fibers. Due to the heat-transfer and heat-resistant properties of the material, asbestos was historically used in numerous products such as steam pipes, brake lining and various construction materials. Inhalation of asbestos fibers can lead to serious respiratory conditions such as asbestosis or mesothelioma.

When mesothelioma is misdiagnosed, however, individuals can face a worsening, fatal condition. The symptoms are not specific, which means that there are many other diseases that it mimics. An improper diagnosis can lead to delays in treatment and hurt your ability to survive.

Mesothelioma is a kind of cancer. For this reason, it is often misdiagnosed as other types of cancer. It may be misdiagnosed as lung cancer, for example, even though it’s actually affecting the lining of the lungs, heart or abdomen.

What should you do if you think you’ve been misdiagnosed?

The first thing to do anytime that you have a serious diagnosis is to speak with another specialist for a second opinion. It is easy to diagnose a condition as another that has similar symptoms, but by seeing two doctors, you have a higher chance of getting the correct diagnosis faster. It is a good idea to have both doctors look at your test results and to verify them for you.

What are some symptoms of mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma causes many symptoms including:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Pleural effusion
  • Pain in the chest
  • Wheezing
  • Dyspnea

As you can see, nearly all of these symptoms can be attributed to other conditions. For that reason, it is vital that the medical provider takes your work history and listens to possible ways you could have been exposed to asbestos.

Your doctor should order numerous tests including blood-marker tests, X-rays, PET scans and MRIs. Biopsies are also helpful, because it is possible for the doctor to see the damage firsthand and to witness the type of scarring and damage that has occurred.

Mesothelioma has a poor prognosis, because it is normally not identified until it is advanced. The sooner you get a diagnosis, the better your chances are of survival. Depending on the stage of mesothelioma, there may be options to reduce or eliminate the cancer completely. In other cases, medical providers have the option of keeping you comfortable and extending your life for as long as possible with advanced treatment methods.

A misdiagnosis can put your life at risk when it comes to mesothelioma. If you’re misdiagnosed, you have a right to speak up and be heard. Discuss your case with a skilled medical malpractice attorney.