Generally speaking, your first indication that you have Mesothelioma will probably come after a series of visits with your general practioner, family doctor or internist. These physicians have broad exposure and information about most conditions that their patients might face. They are the first line of defense in almost every diagnosis, whether for something minor like the common cold or life-threatening conditions such as cancer. If you are aware that you have been exposed to asbestos, whether professionally, through your environment or through close contact with a friend or family member, you should let your physician know so that they can be on the lookout for symptoms and order appropriate diagnostic tests at the earliest sign of a problem.
If you are diagnosed with Mesothelioma, your doctor will probably refer you to a specialist for more advanced treatment. Because Mesothelioma is a cancer that specifically affects the lining of the lungs, physicians who specialize in either eliminating cancer through therapeutic radiation or in removing or restoring lung tissue are generally the most experienced and best equipped to provide care. The physicians with experience in these areas are Oncologists, Radiation Oncologists, Thoracic Surgeons and Pulmonologists.
A Pulmonologist is a specialist in conditions affecting the lungs. They are experts at diagnosis, and are familiar with all aspects of the progression and treatment of Mesothelioma. A Pulmonologist will often work in tandem with either an Oncologist or a Surgeon to get you the best treatment for your specific type of Mesothelioma.
Oncologists and Radiation Oncologists are both experts in cancer. Radiation Oncologists specialize in the use of measured doses of radiation therapy to reduce the size of tumors, while Oncologists will oversee or direct the treatment of your cancer using a variety of different approaches, including radiation. An oncologist may suggest surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or a coordinated combination of all of these approaches with the goal of reducing the size of a tumor or eliminating the cancer entirely.
Thoracic Surgeons are experts at operating on the lungs. There are three reasons why surgery might be ordered for Mesothelioma. A thoracic surgeon would first perform a biopsy, removing a sample of lung tissue in order to assess the extent of the damage that has been done by the condition. Surgery can be performed to provide relief from pain caused by the disease, removing areas that are afflicted. Finally, research has shown that removal of specific small areas of damaged lung tissue may extend the life of a Mesothelioma patient – in some cases, a lung transplant may be attempted.
Medical costs for the treatment of Mesothelioma can grow to astronomical heights very quickly, and treatment will be required on an ongoing basis. For help in filing a claim for compensation for medical expenses and damages, qualified Mesothelioma attorneys will be able to be of tremendous value; they may also have access to a vast network of expert physicians that they can refer you to for your care.