Getting to the Doctor: When presenting with the symptoms listed above, the first thing your doctor may want to do is order a chest x-ray. A physical exam is also quite common where they will look for lumps in the chest or other signs of trauma or disease. They will be checking for fluid build-up or other signs related to a more serious condition.
Advanced Testing and Biopsy: It is not uncommon to be referred to a specialist for an additional battery of tests which may include advanced imaging scans such as a CT scan. A biopsy may also be performed. A biopsy is where a tiny bit of issue is extracted and then analyzed under a microscope for the presence of malignant cancerous cells.
Staging and Treatment Planning: After confirming diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma, the next thing to expect is a discussion regarding how advanced the cancer is. Staging is applied to try to explain the reach of the cancer in the body. For example: Stage 1 would be indication that the tumor has not left the original location and spread to other areas of the body. Cancer stages are commonly given a numerical assignment of stage 1 -4, with stage 4 being the worst. Treatment planning has many variable and are largely dependent upon on age, cancer progression, and health at time of the mesothelioma diagnosis.