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Diagnosis of peritoneal mesothelioma




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The diagnosis for peritoneal mesothelioma begins with a thorough review of the patient’s medical history to determine symptoms and any past exposure to asbestos, as well as a complete physical exam. In addition, doctors may sometimes request a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan or an X-ray of the abdomen or chest area to help determine the location and size of the tumor. An MRI uses a powerful magnet attached to a computer to create detailed pictures of areas inside the body. These pictures are viewed on a monitor and can also be printed so that the affected areas with the tumor are clearly shown.

In cases of pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma, fluid (effusion) can build up in the chest or abdominal area. In such cases, doctors may use a procedure known as fine needle aspiration to obtain a sample of this fluid for further examination. In addition, this procedure can be used to drain the effusion to temporarily relieve chest pain or other painful symptoms.

Usually, a biopsy of the tumor is needed to confirm a diagnosis of mesothelioma, but sometimes only an effusion sample is needed. Some of the procedures commonly used for the diagnosis of peritoneal mesothelioma are peritoneoscopy, thoracoscopy, and biopsy. In peritoneoscopy, the doctor will use a tool called a peritoneoscope, which is placed in an opening in the patient’s abdomen. Liquid, if found, is then drained; the process of draining the fluid is called paracentesis and a needle must be placed in the abdomen to extract the fluid.

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In thoracoscopy, a doctor uses a special instrument called a thoracoscope to examine the patient’s chest cavity. An incision is made in the chest wall and the thoracoscope is placed between the patient’s ribs. If the fluid is found in the chest, the doctor will drain it from the chest cavity through a needle. A thoracoscopy usually requires an anesthetic or some other form of pain suppression.

If cancer tissue is found in a biopsy in the patient’s lungs or abdomen, it will be removed and examined by the doctor. This process helps the doctor determine possible ways of treatment and is usually done during one of the other two processes or may require additional surgery.

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