NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma, Version 1.2014
Testing for mesothelioma Tests to confirm mesothelioma
As the machine takes pictures, you may hear buzzing,
clicking, or whirring sounds. Earplugs are sometimes
worn to block these sounds. A computer combines all
pictures into one detailed picture. A CT scan is done in
about 30 seconds, but the entire process is completed
in 30 minutes. You may not learn of the results for a
few days since a radiologist needs to see the pictures.
To confirm if there’s cancer, a sample of tissue or fluid
must be removed from your body for testing. This is
called a biopsy. Thoracentesis is a type of biopsy that
removes a sample of fluid from the pleural cavity.
For thoracentesis your skin will be cleaned
and numbed with local anesthesia. Next, a needle will
be inserted between your ribs into your chest to get
the fluid. You may be given an x-ray before the biopsy
to guide the needle into your chest and afterward to
check if the biopsy went well. The fluid sample will
then be sent to a lab to be tested for cancer cells. It is
difficult to diagnose mesothelioma just by testing the
fluid since cancer cells are often not seen.
A pleural biopsy removes one or more samples of
the pleura. The tissue samples are then sent to a
lab to be tested for cancer cells. There are a few
ways that a pleural biopsy can be done. Options
include a CT-guided core biopsy, an Abrams needle
biopsy, an open biopsy, or a thoracoscopic biopsy.
Thoracoscopic biopsy is the preferred method.
CT-guided core biopsy.
A CT-guided core biopsy
uses pictures from a CT scan to guide a needle
into your body. First, your skin will be cleaned and
numbed with local anesthesia. Next, the needle will
be inserted through a small cut and guided into your
chest between your ribs. Then, the sample will be
removed by the sharp end of the needle and stored in
a hollow space within the needle.
Figure 4. Thoracentesis
Thoracentesis is a type of biopsy
that removes a sample of fluid
from the pleural cavity to test for
cancer cells. The pleural cavity is
the space between the two layers
of tissue lining around the lungs.
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