A recent study published by European researchers indicates that there could be breakthroughs coming for oncologists to help them screen patients for mesothelioma and detect the disease sooner. Better screening techniques and earlier detection could drastically improve the prognosis for mesothelioma cancer victims who would otherwise have limited options if traditional detection techniques were applied.
Research for the study was conducted by Dutch and Belgian universities using a special breathalyzer called eNose that uses gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) to screen for malignant pleural mesothelioma. The study examined 64 participants, 16 healthy patients, 19 asymptomatic patients exposed to asbestos in their lives, 15 patients with benign asbestos-related diseases, and 14 with malignant pleural mesothelioma.
The science behind the research examined the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) contained in a person's breath. These VOCs reflect the cell's metabolism and give researchers a snapshot of the patient's condition. While the results from the breath analysis were not perfect, researchers were pleased to discover that they could detect the presence of mesothelioma in patients with a high degree of certainly.
“Using GC-MS, AEx individuals were discriminated from MPM patients with 97% accuracy, with diethyl ether, limonene, nonanal, methylcyclopentane and cyclohexane as important VOCs. This was validated by eNose analysis. MPM patients were discriminated from AEx+ARD participants by GC-MS and eNose with 94% and 74% accuracy, respectively.”
Early Detection Critical to Improving Patient Care
One drawback from the research is that doctors may be able to tell that a patient has cancer but not specifically which kind. Hopefully, future research will lead scientists down a path that can pinpoint or narrow down a patient's condition to the point where oncologists can make decisive treatment options and improve the outlook for patients.
The main factor that makes mesothelioma so difficult to treat is the time between exposure and diagnosis, a period of time that is often decades long and can make pinpointing the cause of health problems difficult for many patients. Like other cancers, early detection of mesothelioma gives patients many more treatment options and can have tremendous impact on how long patients can live with the disease.
Unfortunately, most patients do not receive their diagnosis until the cancer has spread beyond the point where surgery is an option and most doctors recommend chemotherapy or radiation therapy to try and slow tumor growth. While there is still no definitive cure for mesothelioma, which commonly affects thin linings of tissue surrounding the lungs and abdomen, researchers around the world continue to press forward on research that may one day hold the key to defeating the disease once and for all.
Arizona Mesothelioma Lawyer
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced Arizona mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.