Can a chest x-ray show mesothelioma?

X-rays are widely familiar as the most commonly used diagnostic imaging technique. They’ve been in use longer than any other form of technology for looking inside the body, and are comparatively straightforward to do. In the process of diagnosing cancers such as mesothelioma, they are likely to be a crucial tool, but not the final step in determining the nature and severity of the patient’s illness.

The first step to diagnosing mesothelioma is for a patient to notice symptoms, such as chest pain or labored breathing, and go in to the doctor. The doctor may then order an x-ray. X-rays are the result of high-powered energy beams passing through the patient’s body; the energy is impeded at different rates by tissue, bone, metal and other materials, and the result is a two-dimensional image that shows the different densities of substance in the patient’s body. These images can show tumors, as well as fluid buildup in the lung (often a result of mesothelioma).

Can a chest x-ray show mesothelioma?

But because the images are 2D and not extremely detailed, they may not show tumors from mesothelioma when the disease is in its early stages, or may not give an accurate idea of their size and location. To make an accurate diagnosis, the next stop will likely by computed tomography. CT uses sophisticated x-ray machines to image many “slices” of the patient’s body from all directions; the images are then pieced into a 3D computer image. Through this image, the location of tumors can be identified, and an accurate diagnosis made.

Can a chest x-ray show mesothelioma?

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