History: Malignant mesothelioma sufferers may report chest pain, shortness of breath (dyspnea), loss of appetite (anorexia), increased perspiration, weight loss, fatigue, cough or fever. Bone and joint pain, swelling, and arthritis may also be reported. The individual may report a history of asbestos exposure (35 to 40 years previously). LFTP patients often have no symptoms, but a few report the same symptoms as malignant mesothelioma.
Physical exam: Physical findings may include recently diminished breath sounds indicating fluid in the chest cavity, shortness of breath (dyspnea), and cough. Individuals with stage III or IV cancer may additionally experience abdominal pain and nausea. Some individuals may have broadening and thickening of the ends of the fingers (clubbing) that is associated with lung (pulmonary) disease. Rarely, patients may present with neurological problems.
Tests: Malignant mesothelioma usually appears as diffuse, nodular, pleural thickening as seen on chest x-ray. X-rays may also show the presence of fluid in the chest cavity (pleural effusion), which occurs in 50% of individuals with mesothelioma and in 17% of those with LFTP (Tan; Meziane). Less commonly, an isolated tumor mass may be also seen on x-ray.
CT, MRI, and positron emission tomography (PET) scans may be performed to determine the extent of the disease. Tissue samples (biopsy) may be taken by means of needle aspiration or surgical excision to evaluate the tissue under a microscope. Other helpful tests include complete blood count (CBC), metabolic panel, thoracoscopy, and pleuroscopy to finalize the diagnosis. A ventilation and perfusion (V/Q) scan can be obtained to evaluate function of the lung.
Source: Medical Disability Advisor