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Why is mesothelioma misdiagnosed?

Because the symptoms of mesothelioma often resemble those of more common diseases, misdiagnosis occurs frequently in people who struggle with it.

answered by Gregory A. Cade

Mesothelioma misdiagnosis usually occurs due to its rarity and nonspecific symptoms

The main risk factor for mesothelioma is occupational asbestos exposure. In its earlier stages, mesothelioma is extremely challenging to spot within the human body. Patients with mesothelioma may experience some symptoms that are systemic, like chest pain, shortness of breath, a persisting cough, fatigue, and difficulty breathing, which is the reason why misdiagnosis occurs so frequently.

Consequently, pleural mesothelioma may be mistaken for:

whereas peritoneal mesothelioma can be wrongly diagnosed as:

  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • ulcerative colitis
  • hernia
  • ovarian cancer

Furthermore, pericardial mesothelioma may be misdiagnosed as:

  • pericardial thickening
  • heart disease
  • pericardial effusion
  • heart failure
  • discreet pericardial mass

As for testicular mesothelioma, it may be incorrectly diagnosed as hernia or testicular cancer.

Mesothelioma cancer among veterans is an unfortunate reality - thousands of military members were exposed to asbestos during their service, causing high rates of mesothelioma among veterans. While the medical professionals at the VA medical facilities have the chance to examine many veterans who struggle with diseases, which stem from asbestos exposure, misdiagnosis still occurs in numerous cases, as these diseases are challenging to correctly identify.

For a precise and accurate diagnosis, the veteran needs to undergo multiple tests and exams, such as a chest X-ray, a CT scan, breathing tests, and blood tests.

B-Readers are board-certified radiologists in asbestos-related lung X-rays, by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Practically, a B-Reader looks for changes or abnormalities on the chest x-ray that can be caused by inhalation of asbestos.

A biopsy may sometimes be necessary to determine whether the person suffers from mesothelioma or another pulmonary disease. Nevertheless, biopsies are rarely necessary, as mesothelioma tumors appear very clearly on X-rays, as they develop on the outer lining of the lungs, in the case of pleural mesothelioma, which accounts for over 80% of cases. As for peritoneal, pericardial, and testicular mesothelioma, they can also be diagnosed in the absence of a biopsy. However, to ensure they receive a correct diagnosis, veterans are strongly encouraged to seek a second and even third opinion from medical specialists who have vast experience in diagnosing diseases, which occur as a result of asbestos exposure, as only they can assign a precise diagnosis.

We offer free of charge asbestos screenings to people with a history of asbestos exposure

The rate of mesothelioma misdiagnosis is very high and a tremendous number of patients are thereby prevented from undergoing effective treatment, which could considerably improve their prognosis.

If you are a former industrial worker or a veteran who served before 1980, we highly recommend you to come to our medical facility in Birmingham, Alabama, where our medical experts will evaluate your chest X-ray free of charge and assign you a correct diagnosis. In the unfortunate case, asbestos fibers are found in your lungs, our attorneys will help you file a claim with asbestos trust funds and, if you are a veteran, with the VA as well to cover your costs of care and provide for your family.

Whether you currently have a diagnosis related to asbestos exposure or not, seeking a second opinion is always a good idea to make sure you have a precise diagnosis, as diseases, which stem from asbestos exposure are very difficult to identify. The medical specialists we collaborate with have extensive experience in diagnosing these diseases and will provide you with a free asbestos screening.

A mesothelioma misdiagnosis can result in a lower amount of compensation

Besides the emotional stress of living and fighting with an aggressive form of cancer with a poor prognosis, victims often struggle with financial difficulties as well.

If you are a former asbestos worker struggling with mesothelioma, we strongly encourage you to take legal action as soon as possible. Having a correct diagnosis is of the utmost importance when it comes to applying for compensation, as the amount of money you are eligible for primarily depends on your disease.

Consequently, people who struggle with mesothelioma will receive the largest amount of money, as their disease is extremely severe and aggressive, whereas asbestos victims who suffer from non-malignant diseases will be entitled to a lower amount of compensation.

It is important to keep in mind that asbestos exposure cases have a statute of limitations of 3 years in the majority of states, which should make taking legal action a priority for you. If the status of limitations expires, you will no longer be eligible for compensation.

In over 25 years, we have successfully represented thousands of mesothelioma patients in nearly every U.S. state and territory. Our attorneys are prepared to handle the complex matters involved in your asbestos claim due to:

    • asbestos-specific legal knowledge
    • a primary focus on asbestos claims
    • practical knowledge about the asbestos products used by different occupations
    • knowledge of major asbestos job sites throughout the country

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