Common Mesothelioma Misdiagnoses
Mesothelioma is often misdiagnosed as a more common illness, such as types of lung cancer and ovarian cancer.
By process of elimination, doctors looking at X-rays and computed tomography (CT) scans will notice the tumor but possibly diagnose it as something else. Biopsies (testing tumor tissue samples) are the only way to know for sure to diagnose any type of cancer.
Pathologists examine the biopsy samples and look at the cellular structure for signs of mesothelioma. As it is such a rare disease, many pathologists will never have come across a case in their careers. This is why it is beneficial to see a mesothelioma specialist if you suspect you may have the disease.
Fluid build-up can occur as a mesothelioma symptom, and a fluid biopsy is easier to take than a tissue biopsy. However, the fluid samples are harder to decipher under the telescope, which may lead to inaccurate cytology (fluid testing) results.
Quick Facts About Mesothelioma Misdiagnosis
- Pleural mesothelioma symptoms are often similar to those of pneumonia, so it is easy for doctors to conclude that the illness is respiratory-related.
- When it comes to abdominal symptoms, peritoneal mesothelioma is frequently confused with the common, less severe condition of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- The only way to confidently diagnose mesothelioma is by doing a biopsy to test the cancerous tissue.
- During a scan, tumors can appear as a buildup of fluid in the lungs (pleural effusion) or abdomen (ascites). This may not immediately point to mesothelioma because fluid buildup can be the result of multiple factors. However, patients may benefit from seeing a mesothelioma specialist if fluid is found.