Once you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, the pathway through successful treatment can be long and difficult. It will most likely involve visiting various doctors and/or specialists on a day to day basis. While all these doctors will undoubtedly work with your best interests in mind, it can be confusing for patients to understand what their best options are. It is obviously important for all patients to have doctors and specialists they trust.
If you or a loved one suspect asbestos exposure, it is important to visit your family physician regularly in order to detect cancer as early as possible. Your general practitioner will ask for your full medical history, gauge the probability of your exposure to asbestos, examine you for any symptoms, and do an overall check-up. It is important to ask any questions you might have. If your physician suspects cancer, a series of biopsies and standard image scanning tests should be done by a specialist in order to diagnosis the presence of mesothelioma.
If cancer cells are present and the cancer is caught relatively early then an oncologist, or cancer specialist, may suggest other MRI, CAT scans, biopsies and other tests to determine the stage of the cancer. A pathologist will also examine the blood tests, looking for the presence of cancerous cells. A radiologist will administer any form of imaging scan needed to aid in diagnosis.
Once diagnosis and staging are complete, treatment options will be considered. If surgery is an option then a surgeon will open up the chest and/or abdominal cavity to remove the tumors that have been found. However, if the cancer has progressed beyond the option of surgery, other treatment options such as chemotherapy and radiation are available, and will be administered by a radiologist or oncologist.
If the mass of cancer cells is too large for surgery, or if the tumor is in an inoperable area, it is important to consider procedures to make the patient as comfortable as possible. Surgeons may be able to remove fluid build-up known as ascites, or remove some tumors to slow the growth and spread of the cancer, and to increase the patients quality of living.
Oftentimes pulmonary therapists and cancer specialists are visited during the course of treatment. Pulmonary therapists are lung specialists who work to ease breathing difficulty in patients with chronic pain. Obviously, mesothelioma patients typically have great difficulty breathing, and a pulmonary therapist can alleviate some pain associated with the disease. Additionally, cancer specialists can suggest alternative forms of treatment patients may want to consider.
Finally, it is important for patients suffering from chronic disease like mesothelioma to visit a therapist or psychologist to discuss any feelings of anxiety, guilt or depression. A psychologist is trained to help you cope with your diagnosis, and many psychologists are trained to specifically work with cancer patients.
All patients suffering from mesothelioma should remember that every doctor and specialist visit will have your best interests in mind. Keeping a positive outlook is important, and remember to ask questions and stay informed when it comes to your treatment.