X-rays are a common form of imaging tests that are regularly used during dental treatments or to diagnose broken bones. However, because of the test’s ability to supply doctors with an image of suspicious alterations inside the human body, they can also be used as part of the diagnostic process for diseases such as mesothelioma. Tests such as this one are normally utilized even after a diagnosis has been made, as a means of determining treatment options and charting the malignancy’s progression.
Doctors may use x-rays as one of the initial steps in diagnosing mesothelioma. This is a cancer of the mesothelium, or thin lining surrounding the lungs, heart and abdomen. Modern x-rays are deemed both safe and painless. They are accepted as a way of exploring the areas of the chest cavity where lung-related issues reside. They can help in identifying lung cancer and mesothelioma, as well as determining whether the cancer is localized or widespread in the lung. X-Rays are able to do this because cancer cells generally show up as a lighter color on the image, helping to discern between healthy and malignant tissue.
FREE Mesothelioma Information
How X-Rays Work
X-ray machines work by aiming a tube at the specific area the doctor wishes to examine. This tube produces an x-ray beam. These beams are used in quick, short bursts of carefully measured x-rays that pass through the patient’s body and create an image. This image is then recorded either on film or another special material so that the physician or specialist can better examine the areas in question. Most often, a radiologist will be the type of doctor who administers and then reviews the x-ray. In order to perform an x-ray the radiologist positions the patient’s body so that the x-ray will provide the clearest image possible for diagnosis.
As is the case in traditional photographs, the process of taking an x-ray requires the patient to remain still. They might also be asked to hold their breath while the image is collected, in order to produce the most accurate image possible. Sometimes, in the case of other types of x-rays the process can be slightly more complicated; in some instances the radiologist uses a dye that is either ingested or injected in order to increase the contrast on the image. Most x-rays, however, are straightforward and simple.
X-ray results are instantaneous, allowing the radiologist to read the images quickly and efficiently, especially in emergency situations. However, under more common circumstances, the results are provided for the patient’s doctor several days later.
Risks and Concerns
Although some people believe x-rays can be dangerous or harmful to patients, the reality is that current x-ray technology uses a relatively low level of radiation, causing no harm to the patient or medical staff. However, because x-rays are so vital in providing a fast and accurate medical diagnosis, the benefits usually outweigh possible risks. Generally, only pregnant women need to consult their doctor as to any precautions or risks associated with an x-ray.