Researchers develop new mesothelioma detection method

Mesothelioma is a terrible disease. It is a serious cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos fibers. Sadly, mesothelioma is difficult to treat and is almost always fatal.

A lot of the challenge comes from the fact that mesothelioma is so hard to detect. The cancer forms in the lining of the lungs or other organs and develops slowly over time, sometimes becoming apparent only decades after the initial exposure to asbestos.

Researchers have been working on new ways to diagnose mesothelioma with the hope that earlier detection could improve survival rates, or, at the very least, increase longevity. It seems they may have made some headway. In March 2013, the journal PLoS One published a study detailing a new method for detecting the presence of mesothelioma cells.

In the study, researchers developed an electrochemical process that can detect a certain protein in the blood. While the process does not detect mesothelioma cells themselves, the protein is known to be found in high levels in the blood of people with mesothelioma. The researchers developed a sensor that will allow doctors to get test results within a matter of just a few minutes.

The test is projected to be particularly helpful because it will allow doctors to distinguish mesothelioma from other diseases with similar symptoms. In the early stages of the disease, many mesothelioma patients report symptoms including difficulty breathing, abdominal pain and unexplained weight loss. These symptoms can easily be mistaken for a number of other conditions, especially considering that many mesothelioma patients are of advanced age.

Help for mesothelioma victims

Perhaps the saddest truth about mesothelioma is that many manufacturers of asbestos-containing products knew about the connections between asbestos and cancer but failed to take adequate steps to warn their customers or mitigate against the risk. As a result, a whole generation of auto mechanics, ship workers, power plant workers, construction workers, pipefitters and other tradesmen unknowingly spent their entire careers exposing themselves to one of the most devastating cancers imaginable.

Anyone who has been exposed to asbestos would be wise to schedule regular cancer screenings with their doctor. While mesothelioma is almost always fatal, early detection can greatly improve quality of life. In addition, asbestos exposure is also a known cause of other, more treatable cancers, including colon cancer, lung cancer and esophageal cancer.

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma (or any other disease caused by asbestos exposure) it is important for you to know that you have a right to hold the asbestos companies accountable for the harms you have suffered. An experienced mesothelioma attorney can help you recover compensation for medical bills and pain and suffering and can help make sure your family is taken care of should you pass away.