Mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure can take decades to develop. However, once the symptoms are detected, this kind of cancer progresses quickly, which is why early detection is so important. An early diagnosis of mesothelioma will typically allow you and your doctor to pursue advanced treatment options. Though there is no cure for mesothelioma, early treatments and therapies can add years to your life. If you have ever been exposed to asbestos, it is important that you learn the process for early cancer detection.
The personal injury law firm of Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis and Lightfoot, L.L.P. has been fighting for the rights of asbestos exposure victims for over 30 years from our offices in the Washington, D.C. area. Virginia mesothelioma lawyer Peter C. DePaolis in particular has represented many victims of asbestos-related conditions. One of his asbestos lawsuits resulted in a decision that has influenced many subsequent cases. Due to the ruling in that case, victims can now file separate lawsuits for asbestosis and a cancer diagnosis.
It can take anywhere from 20 to 50 or more years after asbestos exposure for a person to experience any symptoms of mesothelioma. However, it is a malignant form of cancer that is often fatal within two years of diagnosis. Therefore, it is crucial that you act quickly if you or a loved one is experiencing mesothelioma symptoms. The early signs of the most common form of mesothelioma, which affects the lungs, include:
Additionally, other early signs of other types of mesothelioma include:
Many of these signs are often very similar to the effects of the common cold and pneumonia. This can cause some people to dismiss the early symptoms of mesothelioma or delay making an appointment with a doctor. Alternatively, doctors sometimes misdiagnose this cancer as another lung disorder or treat patients for pneumonia. For these reasons, it may take months before a doctor makes a correct mesothelioma diagnosis.
There is not yet an easy way to test for mesothelioma. Once you report your symptoms to your doctor, he or she will likely try to rule out other possible diagnoses. However, if no other treatments work or your symptoms worsen, your doctor may refer you to a specialist who will perform tests for the three types of mesothelioma. These possible types are:
In order to confirm a mesothelioma diagnosis, the specialist may use a number of different tests and imaging methods. These include X-rays, blood tests, positron emission tomography (PET scans), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT scans). Using the information from these tests, the specialist will then perform a biopsy of tissue. This is almost always the final step in a mesothelioma diagnosis.
If cancer is found, your mesothelioma treatment will probably start immediately. In all, it is not usual for this process to take two or three months to complete. If you have a history of asbestos exposure, it is crucial that you see your doctor as soon as possible if you start experiencing symptoms and inform him or her of your past exposure.
Finally, if you have questions regarding your legal options after a recent mesothelioma diagnosis, or if a loved one has died from mesothelioma or a related disease caused by asbestos exposure, contact our Fairfax, Greenbelt or Washington, D.C. personal injury firm today. A mesothelioma attorney from our team can meet with you free of charge to review your case. We can help you determine exactly who caused your asbestos exposure and explain your options regarding an asbestos lawsuit.