Mesothelioma is one of the worst diseases someone can have because of the latency period involved. For most individuals diagnosed with mesothelioma, treatment options are very limited or sometimes non-existent (depending on the type of mesothelioma) because by the time it is diagnosed, it is in the later stages.
Those who are exposed to asbestos may not experience the effects of mesothelioma until 10, 20, or even 30 years down the road and most are diagnosed in the third or fourth stages of the condition—making it difficult to actually provide treatment.
However, there are new studies regarding what can be done to help with earlier diagnosis of mesothelioma, which can increase the chances of catching the disease in the early stages. While some may not be treated, the early diagnosis can help prolong the effects and life of the patient.
New technology and improved statistical analysis may be the most beneficial thing in helping this. Here are some of the new advances that are being used to help determine if mesothelioma is present much earlier than normal.
Statistical Data and Computer Programs — How Can Machine Learning Help
At the University of Toronto, molecular geneticists are using some of the data they receive to correctly input it into various computer programs. The belief is that the machines can help do a more accurate job of identifying signs of mesothelioma in its early stages.
The molecular geneticists worked with cardiologists and oncologists regarding the data collected from suspected mesothelioma patients. Hundreds of cases were uploaded into multiple programs to test which ones can help identify and accurate diagnosis and whether they could rule out different types of mesothelioma, such as the most common form, malignant pleural mesothelioma.
According to the studies conducted, the researchers determined that the many of the right factors can be beneficial in helping physicians diagnose mesothelioma without the need for computer programs. However, the right computer program was able to take significant amounts of data, accumulate the information, and diagnose mesothelioma quickly.
The study used data from 300 Turkish patients—all of which had been exposed to asbestos at one point or another in their lifetime. The lead researcher stated that machine learning is able to predict the presence of mesothelioma and diagnose a patient in a highly accurate, sensitive, and specific manner. Even more important, though, the program helped to spot specific factors which most indicative of early diagnosis.
Earlier this year, German scientists also had an important discovery that could help to identify the presence of malignant mesothelioma in the earliest stages—when no real symptoms are shown by the patient.
One accurate tool they determined could help with diagnosis is the loss of BAP1 protein in the patient. Testing tumors that may be suspected of being malignant for BAP1 protein can help the doctor diagnose mesothelioma in a fast and accurate manner.
Why Is Early Diagnosis So Important?
For many of the individuals who have spent a long period of time exposed to mesothelioma, by the time they are diagnosed, the condition has spread to other locations of the body, making it nearly impossible to treat with surgery or other methods.
Early diagnosis gives medical professionals a chance to develop a potential option for surgery or other treatments to help prolong the life of the patient. It can also help with taking legal action against the parties responsible for the asbestos exposure.
With regards to lawsuits involving mesothelioma, the patient diagnosed has two years from the date of diagnosis to take legal action against the party responsible for the exposure to asbestos. With earlier diagnosis, those who have developed mesothelioma can potentially see the justice they deserve.
While there is no recommended testing for mesothelioma unless it’s specifically understood that the patient was exposed to asbestos, certain blood screening can help if the patient has high levels of soluble mesothelin-related peptides (SMRPs) and fibulin-3.
High levels of these substances, along with various symptoms, can give your healthcare provider a shot at catching the cancer early on.
If Mesothelioma Is Detected Early Enough, What Treatment Options Are Available?
When you are diagnosed with mesothelioma, it can be easy to feel defeated—after all, you’re most likely being diagnosed in the later stages of the condition. However, with proper early diagnosis, there are some treatment options available to mesothelioma patients.
This includes the following options:
- Surgery – The type of surgery required is dependent on the type of mesothelioma the patient has, as well as the stage at which the mesothelioma is.
- Chemotherapy – This form of treatment provides patients with specific drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either preventing them from dividing or outright killing cells.
- Radiation – A specific dose of radiation is used to try and alleviate symptoms. It’s an option for those who may not be healthy enough for surgery.
- Gene therapy – This option is typically available through clinical trials and there are very specific options when it comes to type of treatment.
- Photodynamic therapy – This is designed to target the tumor directly through localized treatment. It can be continuously used without causing body tissues additional harm.
- Immunotherapy – This is an experimental treatment that attempts to use the body’s own natural mechanisms to fight the mesothelioma.
- Physical therapy – While not a direct treatment for the cancer itself, physical therapy can help battle the fatigue and weakness mesothelioma patients often experience.
- Alternative and experimental treatments – As more and more research is done, there have been numerous alternative and experimental treatments tried for mesothelioma patients with some being more effective than others.
Mesothelioma victims are facing plenty of difficult decisions after diagnosis. What treatment option should I consider? What do I do if my condition is fatal? Can I take legal action against the party responsible for the asbestos exposure?
Finding a supportive legal team can help when determining what to do next. This can mean finding the right treatment options should they be available to you, determining if you have a claim based on your history and date of diagnosis, and pursuing financial compensation to help you and your family moving forward.
At Shrader & Associates, we have extensive experience representing individuals who have suffered from asbestos exposure. We know how difficult it can be to try and deal with the aftermath of a mesothelioma diagnosis and because of that, we work hard to help our clients get the outcome they deserve.
Our mesothelioma attorneys are committed to your needs when you are dealing with one of the most difficult times of your life. We aim to guide you through the process so you know what to expect and can make decisions regarding what to do next.
If you worked in any capacity where you may have been exposed to asbestos, you should make sure you check with your healthcare provider to get testing as soon as possible. The latency period creates problems and symptoms are not immediately detected, so early testing is crucial.
If you believe you have a lawsuit for asbestos exposure and suffering from mesothelioma, call our firm at (877) 958-7920 and speak with an attorney about what rights you may have.