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Tips for going to your doctor appointment for diagnosis

Sometimes we put off dealing with troubling symptoms out of fear. We may suspect what the problem may be and dread having it confirmed. But until a diagnosis is made by your doctor, treatment can't start, so you have to take that first scary step.

Those who are experiencing abdominal or lung symptoms and who have worked in industries where mesothelioma is commonly contracted are particularly at risk. Your first stop should be your primary care physician. He or she can evaluate your symptoms and provide you with a referral to a gastroenterologist or a pulmonologist.

The following tips may be helpful before your appointment:

-- List all of your symptoms, even those that don't seem to be connected.

-- Ask whether there are any restrictions to follow prior to your appointment, such as refraining from eating for a few hours or anything else.

-- Write a short narrative about your background, including major life events, stressors and changes.

-- Ask your spouse, close friend or family member to accompany you and take notes during the visit.

-- Write down all of your medications, dosages and times. Include OTC meds, supplements and vitamins.

-- List the questions you want your doctor to answer.

-- If you have previous X-rays or ultrasounds, bring them with you.

-- Make sure that your doctor knows about any other health conditions you may have.

If you do wind up diagnosed with mesothelioma, your first concern is to make sure that you get the treatment you need. Then, you may wish to pursue compensation from the companies that caused your exposure to the deadly asbestos that sickened you.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "Preparing for your appointment," accessed Jan. 27, 2017

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