Mississippi Attorneys Guide Clients Through the Mesothelioma Diagnosis Staging, Screening and Misdiagnosis Process
Connecting clients with resources to help them manage asbestos-related diseases
It makes no difference how rare a mesothelioma diagnosis is, because if you have received one, it can potentially change your life forever. From the time you receive the diagnosis, there are many steps that you have to follow, such as finding a good doctor, getting treatment and seeking financial compensation if you got the disease due to occupational exposure to asbestos. At the law firm of Cumbest, Cumbest, Hunter & McCormick, our attorneys are compassionate and supportive. We can help you navigate the process of documenting your exposure to asbestos and holding the negligent party responsible.
Understanding a mesothelioma diagnosis and staging
Mesothelioma is a tumor that forms in the lungs undisturbed for decades. Meanwhile, people who have it go on with their lives unaware of it. These tumors usually form in the delicate mesothelium, which is the lining of the internal organs of the body, so to detect them, doctors must use imaging technology such as a:
One of the challenges with getting a proper diagnosis is that the symptoms of mesothelioma are the same as for many common ailments, and when the tumors are small, they are difficult to detect visually on a chest X-ray. For this reason, doctors most commonly diagnose the disease when it reaches the later stages and the symptoms show up and begin to have a negative effect on a person’s health.
Once the imaging tests identify the location of the tumors, lab technicians analyze the tissues through a biopsy. A person’s prognosis depends largely on how soon the diagnosis is made and how soon treatment begins. As with other forms of cancer, early diagnosis is critical.
Once the biopsy has revealed the type of mesothelioma, the doctor can assign a stage. The stage describes the severity of the disease on a scale from I to IV, with stage I being treatable and stage IV likely being terminal.
The Mayo Clinic describes pleural mesothelioma according to the Butchart staging system developed in 1976 by Dr. Eric Butchart:
- Stage I mesothelioma is considered to be localized cancer, meaning it is limited to one portion of the lining of the chest.
- Stage II mesothelioma may have spread beyond the lining of the chest to the diaphragm or to a lung.
- Stage III mesothelioma may have spread to other structures within the chest and may involve nearby lymph nodes.
- Stage IV mesothelioma is an advanced cancer that has spread more extensively within the chest. Stage IV may also indicate that mesothelioma has spread to distant areas of the body, such as the brain, liver and lymph nodes elsewhere in the chest.
These stages only apply to the pleural type of mesothelioma, which is the most common. The other types of the disease are quite rare and have not been studied as closely as pleural mesothelioma.
The personal injury attorneys at Cumbest, Cumbest, Hunter & McCormick help victims of asbestos exposure seek the compensation they deserve.
Is there a mesothelioma screening test?
Some people have a known risk of asbestos exposure and need a way to get screened to make sure they don’t have the disease. They can use imaging tests such as a chest X-ray or CT or PET scans to look for signs of mesothelioma tumors, but it is not known how helpful these scans are in finding mesothelioma before the tumors form.
Why is a mesothelioma misdiagnosis so common?
When people go to their doctors complaining of the common symptoms of mesothelioma, such as coughing, nausea and shortness of breath, a misdiagnosis can occur because these symptoms are also indicative of mundane illnesses.
There are also no definitive diagnostic tests for mesothelioma. The fact that the disease lies dormant in the body for decades, undetectable until it reaches a stage where it is more challenging to treat, also presents a challenge to doctors.
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Contact a Mississippi personal injury attorney to discuss your asbestos-related cancer case
Receiving a cancer diagnosis is never easy, but it can be even more difficult to take when you find out that you were exposed to the carcinogen at your place of employment and because of the negligence of your employer. At Cumbest, Cumbest, Hunter & McCormick, we are ready to be your source for aggressive legal representation. Contact us online or call us at 866-461-1591 today to schedule a no-obligation consultation.