Mesothelioma Treatments

Mesothelioma Oncologist

Oncology is the medical specialty that deals with the treatment and management of cancer. Mesothelioma patients will often meet with an oncologist after they have met with their primary physician.

Since mesothelioma is a very rare form of cancer, and few oncologists have had the experience of dealing with it directly, many patients are treated by a team of doctors, each specializing in a certain area that pertains to mesothelioma and treatment. This team will typically consist of your own primary care physician, a pulmonary, gastrointestinal or cardiovascular specialist (depending on where the cancer is located), a thoracic surgeon, a palliative care (pain management) specialist, a radiologist, a nurse and the oncologist.

Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Once a patient's primary care physician has realized that the symptoms of mesothelioma have surfaced, an oncologist will be the one who determines the diagnosis. Diagnosing any type of cancer can be a difficult task. Tumors can masquerade as other conditions and symptoms may pertain to a variety of conditions. Cancer can also remain undetected for years as it advances to greater stages of development.

Mesothelioma is often more difficult to diagnose than most forms of cancer. This is largely due to the long latency period associated with the disease. A patient may not demonstrate symptoms of mesothelioma until decades after initial asbestos exposure occurred.

In addition, mesothelioma does not grow like a lump; it spreads like a sheet over the surfaces of the affected organs. Eventually, it thickens and puts pressure on the lungs, heart or digestive organs, causing discomfort and ultimately debilitating pain. In the past, this has been a primary reason that mesothelioma has not been diagnosed until it has reached stage three or four, the latest stages of development.

In the case of pleural mesothelioma (affecting the lungs), the symptoms of mesothelioma include shortness of breath, cheat pain, cough and fluid in the lungs - which are common to virtually all respiratory ailments.

Diagnosing mesothelioma begins with a long list of questions regarding a patient's medical history and the kinds of symptoms a patient is experiencing. A patient will often have to review all of this information with the oncologist, even if it has already been provided to a family doctor. Numerous tests, including blood analysis, biopsies and imaging tests may be conducted to determine the location, nature and stage of the malignancy.

Based on this information gathered during the diagnostic process, the oncologist will determine the best course of treatment in collaboration with the other doctors on your team. Additional information about diagnosing mesothelioma can be found by filling out the packet request form on this page.

Taking an Active Role

Although the process can be frightening, many patients feel that knowledge is empowering.. The oncologist should be able to explain the reasons for the patient's recommended treatments, how they will work to combat mesothelioma and the expected results. If a patient experiences pain or discomfort, it is important to tell the oncologist so that some kind of palliative treatment may be administered.

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