Our team of specialists combines deep expertise and advanced technology to provide you with the most accurate diagnosis — leading to the most effective treatment.

Testing for mesothelioma

One or a combination of tests may be used to diagnose mesothelioma and depend on the area of the body affected:

  • Blood chemistry studies may be ordered to check whether certain substances in the bloodstream are either too low or too high.
  • Needle biopsy uses a thin, hollow needle to pick up cells in areas affected by mesothelioma, including the lung, abdomen and heart. A pathologist looks at the sample under a microscope to check for cancer.
  • Endoscopic biopsy involves removing tissue or cells to be viewed later under a microscope by a pathologist, and usually is done during an endoscopy.       
  • Endobronchial ultrasound uses a narrow, flexible camera that is guided into the airway. This allows the surgeon to see lymph nodes through the windpipe and take a sample with a needle.
  • Echocardiogram is a test that uses sound waves to gauge the health and functioning of the heart.

Imaging tests are often used to gauge the extent of disease and whether it has spread to distant organs.

  • Low-dose spiral CT (computed tomography) scanning uses low dose X-rays to scan the body in a spiral path. The images that come out of this scan appear as “slices” of the body from different points of view.
  • Chest X-rays look for any masses or spots on the lungs.
  • PET (positron emission tomography) imaging uses a radioactive tracer to locate cancer cells and measure their activity.
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) uses magnets and radio waves to create a series of pictures of the sites where mesothelioma tends to grow.

Other tests, such as a pulmonary exam, may be performed to determine how well the lungs are functioning prior to surgery.