Mesothelioma Diagnosis – Complete Guide for Begginers

The Oncologists utilize a number of diagnostic tests to  confirm mesothelioma. Blood tests such as MESOMARK and SOMAmer panel, imaging and screening tests like

MRI, CT scan, PET scan, X-rays and biopsies to investigate how deeply it is progressed. The diagnosis of mesothelioma cancer is done by a biopsy review of tissue taken from the tumor. Pathologists use a number of immunohistochemical stains to distinguish between mesothelioma and other types of cancer.

Imaging Scans 

Diagnostic screening tests like x-rays, CT scans and MRI’s can be done to obtain  more information about the mesothelioma including how far it is progressed. Each techniques gives another part of information for the doctor to make an perfect diagnosis. Chest x-rays is a way to identify abnormalities in the lungs including abnormal thickening, mineral deposits and liquid in the chest area. CT scans are used to get more images of the same location from many different views. MRI technology which uses magnetic fields rather than x-ray to provide additional views. Combination of PET and CT scan leads to better treatment in peritoneal mesothelioma.

  • X Ray – An x-ray is a common initial investigation for the lung diseases not only for cancer diagnosis. The X-Ray is utilized for many different respiratory abnormalities, including bronchitis and pneumonia. A chest X-Ray can show up fluid in the abdomen or in the cavities.The symptom of mesothelioma has respiratory disorders, so often chest X-ray is the initial investigation and imaging technique used in mesothelioma diagnosis.If the doctors find the fluid or pleural effusion in the pleural cavity then they go for the another test of Biopsy. The  surgical Biopsy is a procedure for all type of cancers, a small part of the tumorous tissue is taken or fluid is taken from the area to find the presence of mesothelioma cancer cells.
  • PET Scan – Positron Emission Tomography is a nuclear medicine imaging, to produce three dimensional color image of the functional process of the human body. It is otherwise called as a PET scan.  Nuclear medicine involves introducing a small amount of radioactive material into the body to asist doctors determine if the body is functioning properly. PET scans in mesothelioma sick person are many times used in conjunction with CT scans. PET scans are used to make more data about the health condition and how effective current treatment is. Medical researchers prefer to find the aspect of PET scans very much useful other than MRIs and X-ray because it can reveal how the patient’s body is functioning than how it looks.
  • CT Scan – A computer  tomography (CT) scan is usually carried out after a chest X-ray. A CT scan uses X-rays and a computer to create detailed images of the internal body.  CT scan is referred to, is a commonly used method to find the location of the tumor and how far it is extended. The scan is painless and can take 30 minutes to complete.This type of imaging gives the full details than a chest X-Ray. And also the CT scan provides the cross sectional views of the internal body structure and it can be reconstructed in the computer. A CT scan can show abnormal swellings in body organs or lymph nodes. Before the CT scan a dye called ‘contrast’ is injected, this helps to make the scan clearer. The CT scan shows an abnormal area in the lung and the doctor may suggest  to  have a sample of tissue taken (a biopsy).  They may do this using another CT scan. The anesthetist give local anesthesia to numb the area where they are going to put the biopsy needle. This is called a CT guided biopsy.
  • MRI A magnetic resonance image, more commonly referred to as an MRI, is a noninvasive method used for diagnosing mesothelioma within the body. The MRI uses a magnetic field and radio frequency pulses, transmitting them to a computer.


A biopsy is a crucial and an important diagnostic procedure recommended by doctors to detect mesothelioma. When patients having signs and symptoms of mesothelioma with a history of asbestos exposure.The biopsy is performed to determine whether a suspicious lesion is cancerous or to distinguish a specific type of cancer.FNA- Fine Needle Aspiration is the less invasive type of biopsy. Usually FNA can be performed on a solid lesion, or fluid from that part may be extracted by it and then it is sent to pathology test for presence of malignant cancerous cells. If malignant cells are present the cancer specialists will determine the cellular classification of cancer. There are some other type of biopsies like Needle biopsy, surgical biopsy, Bronchoscopy are included. The type and location of the patient’s tumor dictates to choose the type of biopsy to be performed.  Peritoneal mesothelioma patients mostly undergo the needle biopsy.

  • Needle Biopsy– The needle biopsy is considered the less invasive biopsy procedure. Mostly, a more substantial biopsy of cancer tissue is generally recommended for patients only when mesothelioma is suspected, such as a core biopsy or a surgical biopsy. This can be done as a CT-guided biopsy from outside of the chest, or attimes a small lung surgery like a video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS), in which a surgeon uses small surgical tools with cameras and biopsy equipment to look inside the chest along the pleural surface (pleuroscopy) with a minimally invasive approach. It is often helpful and sometimes necessary for a surgeon to do a VATS and directly biopsy suspicious nodules in order to establish the diagnosis
  • Excisional Biopsy – The whole tumor is removed from the body and the samples are taken from the mass for the laboratory tests.
  • Percutaneous needle biopsy – A percutaneous needle biopsy is a procedure  of removing a sample from a suspected tumour to test it at a laboratory for cancerous cells. For this biopsy the doctor  will use a CT scanner to guide a needle to the site of a suspected tumour from one side to the other of the skin. Local anaesthetic is used to without sensation the surrounding skin, and the needle is passed through the skin and into the lungs. The needle will then be used to remove a sample of tissue for testing.
  • Thoracoscopy

The most accurate diagnostic biopsies for mesothelioma is Thoracoscopy. By this method the doctors look into the pleural cavity and retrieve high-quality biopsy samples; it can give the accurate diagnosis for up to 98 percent of mesothelioma patients.

  • Mediastinoscopy

A mediastinoscopy is a procedure allows the doctor to examine the organs in the mediastinum, that is the area between lungs and chest. (mediastinum). This procedure is recommended only when the doctor suspects the patient may have mesothelioma.For this test, the doctor will make a small cut at the bottom of the neck so that they can pass a thin tube into the patient’s chest. The tube has a camera at the end. By the use of camera the doctor can see inside the chest and also they can able to take the sample cells and lymph nodes from the part.The lymph nodes are tested and it helps to determine the doctors whether  or not the cancer has spread in the lymph nodes and can indicate the stage  of the cancer has progressed to. So doctors can start the mesothelioma treatment.


Blood Test

The recent scientific research has developed  blood tests for diagnosis of mesothelioma. The  Blood levels of 2 substances, osteopontin & Soluble mesothelin-related peptides (SMRPs), are raised into high levels in people with mesothelioma. MESOMARK examination which analyze SMPRs,  protein and mesothelioma biomarker.These tests are approved by FDA. Although these blood tests cannot confirm a diagnosis of mesothelioma. Other tests screen for biomarkers like osteopontin or human megakaryocyte potentiation factor.