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NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma, Version 1.2016

Part 2 will introduce you to the

symptoms and tests doctors use to

diagnose mesothelioma.

What are the symptoms?

Testing for mesothelioma is done when certain

symptoms that may be caused by the cancer appear.

Symptoms of mesothelioma may not show until

decades after contact with asbestos. Symptoms of

mesothelioma may be similar to symptoms of other

health conditions. Thus, only your doctor will be

able to tell if your symptoms are due to the cancer.

The possible symptoms of mesothelioma are listed


Guide 1.

The two most common symptoms are

trouble breathing and chest pain.

Signs of contact with asbestos

Pleural effusion and thickening are two common

signs of contact with asbestos. Pleural effusion is the

buildup of extra fluid in the pleural cavity. The pleural

cavity is the space between the two pleural layer

(tissue lining around the lungs). Pleural effusion is

often the earliest sign of asbestos-related disease.

Pleural thickening is widespread scarring of the

pleural tissue. Pleural plaques are concentrated

areas of pleural thickening. Pleural plaques are the

most common sign of asbestos-related disease, but

are not believed to lead to cancer.

How is mesothelioma found?

To confirm you have mesothelioma, you will

need to have a biopsy. You will also have other

recommended tests listed in

Guide 2.

These tests

are used to find mesothelioma, see how far the

primary tumor has spread, and plan treatment.

Chest CT (computed tomography)

A CT scan is a type of imaging test. Imaging tests

take pictures of the inside of your body. A CT scan

takes many pictures of a body part from different

angles using x-rays.

Guide 1. Symptoms

Symptoms of mesothelioma

Trouble breathing

Chest pain

Cough that lasts

A mass under the skin in the chest

Tiredness that lasts

Unplanned weight loss

Trouble falling asleep

Guide 2. Tests

Tests for mesothelioma

Chest CT (




omography) with contrast


Pleural biopsy










blood test


Testing for mesothelioma

What are the symptoms?

How is mesothelioma found?