When diagnosing pleural mesothelioma, accurate history and the identification of at-risk occupations to ascertain previous asbestos exposure is the first essential step3 followed by a combination of tests:
Imaging tests are used to help establish whether a suspicious area might be cancerous and to learn how far the cancer may have spread. Imaging tests that may be used to diagnose pleural mesothelioma include:
X-ray, the most simple and practical diagnostic method for pleural mesothelioma which can identify pleural thickening, pleural nodules or pleural effusion - although this alone cannot confirm a diagnosis due to the lack of specificity
CT scan, most commonly used to help diagnose pleural mesothelioma as it can display the surface of the whole pleura, the diaphragm and the status of lymph nodes
PET scan, used to show how the lungs and associated tissues are working in the body
MRI scan, not frequently used to diagnose pleural mesothelioma but can provide additional information to ascertain if a patient is a candidate for surgery
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