The field of radiology involves the use of imaging such as X-rays during both diagnostic processes and various treatments for cancers such as mesothelioma. Radiologists make use of a wide range of equipment, tools, and technologies during diagnosis and treatment. Some examples of commonly used technologies for imaging include radiography, ultrasound, X-rays, computed tomography or CTs, positron emission tomography or PETs, nuclear medicine, and magnetic resonance imaging or MRIs.
Each of the diagnostic machines described above makes use of a different type of electromagnetic radiation technology, including magnetic waves and X-ray radiation. The images created by the diagnostic machines can be used to form either one or two dimensional pictures of the area that is to be scrutinized by physicians and other health specialists. These images are then used by the radiologist to find out where organs, bones, or tumor masses are located within the body.
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Mesothelioma and Radiologists
Once mesothelioma has been diagnosed in the patient, radiologists and additional physicians will then make use of the information acquired from image scans in order to decide which course of action will be best regarding the treatment of the cancer. The results of the evaluations and tests will then provide physicians with extremely valuable information such as where the cancer is located, how big the tumor is, what stage the cancer is in, and whether or not it has spread to other parts of the body, such as additional organs or the lymph nodes. Determining whether or not the cancer has spread is particularly important when working with patients who are suffering from less common forms of mesothelioma such as pericardial and peritoneal mesothelioma, as physicians currently do not have many conventional treatment plans to deal with these kinds of cancer.
Once physicians have decided upon a form of treatment, it is common for that treatment to involve some form of radiology. Repeated radiology tests over spans of time can assist in determining if the chosen course of treatment is working or not, by informing the physician whether the tumor is shrinking or continuing to grow. Similarly, scans of this nature also commonly accompany various surgical procedures associated with cancer treatment.
Types of Radiologists
There are numerous kinds of radiologists who will specialize in different parts of the body. As a result, depending on the type of mesothelioma that a patient is afflicted with, he or she may work with a variety of radiologists. For example, a patient who has been diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma will be more likely to visit a gastrointestinal radiologist. In contrast, a patient afflicted with pleural mesothelioma will be more likely to visit a radiologist who focuses on parts of the chest.
As with any other doctor or specialist overseeing diagnosis and treatment, it is important for patients to be proactive. Patients should feel comfortable discussing their prognosis and treatment options with any member of their team of doctors, including radiologists. Maintaining a better understanding of the treatment process will help patients gain important information, and may contribute to their overall sense of well-being. Patients should note any questions or concerns they may have and readily discuss them with their doctors, loved ones and family.