The early diagnosis of mesothelioma is an important factor in prognosis and treatment options. If a patient has had a previous history of exposure to asbestos, which can occur in the home, school, or workplace, it is crucial that a physician is notified, even if the individual has not displayed symptoms of mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases. Early diagnosis is particularly crucial due to the fact that symptoms typically arise between 20 and 50 years after initial exposure, giving the disease ample time to enter an advanced stage. In order to receive the best prognosis, it remains essential that the disease be diagnosed early.
Diagnosis of mesothelioma in its later stages has been linked with shorter life expectancies for patients. If the mesothelioma is advanced, the life expectancy of the patient is typically between one and two years after initial diagnosis. However, if the mesothelioma is diagnosed early, treatment can begin sooner, thereby extending the life of the patient.
Advanced and Localized
Cancer can typically be described as “advanced” or “localized.” The cancer is considered localized when the cancerous cells are located only in the site where the cancer originated. If the cells have metastasized or spread from the original area, the cancer is then considered advanced.
Treating localized cancer is much simpler than treating advanced cancer, which may be located in several different areas of the body. Because of this, early diagnosis is essential for a more efficient and effective treatment.
Mesothelioma cancer symptoms may consist of the following signs:
- Pain in the chest
- Breath shortness
- Persistent cough
- Loss of weight
- Swelling of the abdomen
- Pain in the abdomen
- Abnormalities in blood clotting
- Obstructions of the bowels
- Reduced count of red blood cells
- Irregular beating of the heart
If the patient is experiencing any of these symptoms and there is a history of exposure to asbestos, this does not necessarily mean that he or she has mesothelioma. Regardless, it is essential that such a person seek medical assistance in order to allow for the maximum number of treatment options. Because this is such a devastating disease, individuals believing they might be experiencing symptoms of mesothelioma, or have had a previous history of asbestos exposure, should contact a treatment center immediately.