What is a Radiologist?

Radiology is a medical specialty that employs the use of images to both diagnose and treat disease visualized within the human body.  Radiologists utilize an extensive amount of technologies and equipment to diagnose and treat diseases. Some imaging technologies commonly used include X-rays, radiography, ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), nuclear medicine, positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Each of these diagnostic machines uses a different type of technology, such as radiation or magnetic waves. These images create one – or two – dimensional images of the area under scrutiny.  These images aid the radiologist in determining the location of bones, organs, and in this case solid masses such as tumors within the body.

Following diagnosis of mesothelioma, radiologists and other doctors then use the information gained from the medical imaging scans to determine the best course of action regarding treatment. Results of these tests will give doctors invaluable data such as the size of the tumor, the precise location and the stage of the cancer as well as if the cancer has spread to other organs within the body.  This is especially imperative for those suffering from rarer forms of mesothelioma, such as peritoneal and pericardial mesothelioma, as there are little conventional treatment regimes for these types of cancer.

Once a form of treatment has been issued, a patient will still frequently undergo radiology. This is in part because continual tests over time can determine if treatment is working and therefore, the tumor(s) is shrinking. Moreover, scans may be carried out every so often following surgeries, to make sure the tumors have not returned.

Is There More Than One Type of Radiologist?

There are several radiologists that specialize in certain areas of the body, so depending on a patient’s type of mesothelioma, may determine the radiologist they work with.  For instance, if someone is diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma, they are likely to see a gastrointestinal radiologist. Whereas, a diagnostic radiologist who specializes in areas of the chest might be sought after if a patient has pleural mesothelioma.

Since radiologists may also specialize in treatment based on the type of machinery used, it is possible that a patient with mesothelioma may come in contact with a few different radiologists. During the diagnosis treatment, a patient may meet with one or two radiologists who specialize in working with a particular kind of machinery, however once a patient has been diagnosed with a specific type of mesothelioma, he or she might meet with a totally different radiologist who specializes in areas in which they are affected by cancer.

Be Involved, Ask Questions!

As with any doctor, it is comforting to know that the patient’s radiologist is there for them and their family and they are willing to answer any questions one might have regarding treatment or any other mesothelioma related questions. Being diagnosed with mesothelioma can be a very frightening time for a patient and their family, and if obtaining more information regarding the process would make everyone more comfortable, the radiologist will be happy to help.