Mesothelioma Screening and Diagnosis

Early, accurate diagnosis for mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects an area between the lungs and chest called the pleura. Its initial symptoms are like those of many common respiratory conditions. This makes it difficult to find early. 

Henry Ford Health System offers some of Michigan’s most advanced tools and specialists in lung and pleural disease (diseases that affect the thin layer of tissue around the lungs), such as mesothelioma. Our goal is to diagnose mesothelioma as early as possible to give you the best chance of successful treatment. 

Who is at risk for mesothelioma?

Exposure to asbestos causes most cases of mesothelioma. Asbestos was used for decades in automotive manufacturing, paints, insulation and many other products. People who worked with these products are at higher risk for mesothelioma. Many people worked with asbestos products in Detroit’s automobile manufacturing industry or while serving in the military.

Mesothelioma diagnosis at Henry Ford

Our doctors use an extensive range of tools and techniques to diagnose mesothelioma. The diagnosis process begins with a complete medical history and examination. Doctors also may order:

  • Imaging tests: These tests take pictures of the inside of the body. Your doctor might order chest X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scan or a positron emission tomography (PET) scan.
  • Biopsy: If something in the lung looks suspicious, we may need to perform a biopsy. Doctors take a small sample of lung or pleural tissue and send it to the laboratory for further testing. Today’s minimally invasive biopsy methods are quick and virtually painless. We may use a needle or an endoscope — a tiny tube with a light on the end — to take the sample.
  • Management: A team made up of different specialists meets to discuss cases of mesothelioma with our thoracic cancer board. We then make a plan to incorporate the best combination of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.
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