Many companies that do not comply with standard health precautions may expose workers to cancerous materials such as asbestos. This material is the predominant cause of mesothelioma cancer, a sly disease that only shows its effects decades after exposure. If you or a loved one have been exposed to cancerous asbestos, consider organizing a mesothelioma screening to stay one step ahead of your health.
How Does a Mesothelioma Screening Work?
The first step to your diagnostic process is seeing a qualified physician who will conduct a physical examination and ask about your medical history and possible exposure to asbestos particles. If there are mesothelioma symptoms or other troubling signs, the physician may encourage further testing.
Who Should Consider a Mesothelioma Screening?
Mesothelioma cancer is very rare, generally found in those exposed to asbestos for a long time, such as firefighters, carpenters, asbestos miners, and construction workers. These occupations are at a higher risk for asbestos exposure, as they may come in direct contact with the carcinogenic material in the workplace. Workers in these occupations, as well as their families, are encouraged to participate in periodic mesothelioma screenings. Because the disease may develop years after the individual was exposed to asbestos, it is critical to undergo mesothelioma testing even when no symptoms are obvious.
Many mesothelioma cases arise after symptoms occur, and often this is too late. Asbestos-exposed individuals should undergo regular screenings to find potential complications before symptoms occur. Physicians combine different approaches for mesothelioma screenings, including using these imaging techniques:
- Radiography: imaging techniques that uses X-rays to project a picture of a certain structure;
- Computed Tomography (CT Scan): allows a more detailed view and can be used to show fluid around the lungs and scarring inside the lungs;
- Magnetic Resonance Imagining (MRI): used to show the area cancer has invaded and as a tool for staging the cancer;
- Ultrasonography: used to show effusions or pleural thickening and may be used as a video-guide if biopsies are necessary; and
- PET Scan: useful to distinguish malignant from benign tumors and to find areas for biopsy.
In addition, mesothelioma victims often show abnormal concentrations of osteopontin and soluble mesothelin-related peptides (SMRP). By combining mesothelioma blood tests for these molecules and some of the above imaging techniques, physicians are often able to diagnose malignant mesothelioma before severe symptoms appear. If these screening methods are not sufficient, the physician may use invasive methods, such as a thoracoscopy or biopsy.
The Threat of Mesothelioma’s Long Latency Period
One of the major issues with mesothelioma cancer is that it creeps up years after asbestos exposure. Scientists are still researching the disease, but it has been found that gender and exposure time have an effect on the latency period. The time lag presents a threat to those developing the disease: even when clear symptoms show, the victim may not think asbestos long ago was the cause. Because one never knows when the disease will fully develop, the best practice against it is frequent screening to catch any potential complications before they mature.
If the results to your mesothelioma screening are positive for malignant mesothelioma, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Nemeroff Law Firm can fight for your rights. Contact our office at 866-342-1929 or fill in your information on our website for a free case evaluation.