Diagnosing Mesothelioma with Medical Thoracoscopy

Medical thoracoscopy, a procedure used to diagnose and treat pleural diseases such as malignant pleural mesothelioma, provides the information needed to make a diagnosis in about 80 percent of patients. That is up by more than 20 percent in the last three decades. In a newly published study, a team of Italian pulmonary medicine specialists say the procedure, which is also known as pleuroscopy, has steadily improved as doctors have gotten more adept at using it to diagnose mesothelioma and other thoracic malignancies. The Challenge of Mesothelioma Diagnosis Pleural mesothelioma, a virulent cancer that starts on the membrane surrounding the lungs, is notoriously difficult to diagnose. The symptoms of mesothelioma, which can include cough, chest pain, fatigue and shortness of … Continue reading Diagnosing Mesothelioma with Medical Thoracoscopy »

Most Mesothelioma Patients Don’t Need Preventive Radiotherapy after Pleural Intervention

Preventive radiotherapy may not be the best way to keep new tumors from growing at the site of pleural interventions in people with malignant pleural mesothelioma. That is the finding of a group of physician researchers in the UK, who tracked the outcomes of more than 200 mesothelioma patients from institutes across the country who had procedures that required the use of a large-bore pleural tube. Pleural Interventions in Mesothelioma Pleural mesothelioma is a virulent cancer that occurs on the membrane that encircles and encases the lungs. Any procedure or surgery that involves using medical equipment in this region constitutes a pleural intervention.  Mesothelioma patients may need all kinds of pleural interventions, from surgeries to remove the bulk of their … Continue reading Most Mesothelioma Patients Don’t Need Preventive Radiotherapy after Pleural Intervention »

Preventing New Tumor “Seeding” After Mesothelioma Biopsy

Doctors in England are testing a method they hope will reduce the likelihood of pleural mesothelioma patients developing new tumors in their chest wall after a biopsy. A tissue sample is required to make a definitive mesothelioma diagnosis. But as many as 15 percent of mesothelioma patients who undergo some kind of invasive biopsy procedure will develop tiny new tumors along the tracks of the intervention site. Now, doctors at medical centers across England are performing the first randomized trial of prophylactic irradiation of those intervention sites as a way of preventing new mesothelioma tumors. Mesothelioma Biopsy Options There is no blood test for mesothelioma. Instead, patients suspected of having the asbestos cancer will undergo a thorough exam, a health … Continue reading Preventing New Tumor “Seeding” After Mesothelioma Biopsy »

The Challenge of Diagnosing Malignant Mesothelioma

The case of a Japanese man whose mesothelioma went undetected until it claimed his life seven months later highlights the need for better and earlier mesothelioma diagnosis. The man is the subject of a new article published in the medical journal Case Reports in Oncology. Although the patient complained of chest pain for months, his doctors were never able to make a diagnosis of mesothelioma. Missed Mesothelioma Symptoms Although the 70-year-old Japanese patient worked in a field which might have exposed him to asbestos, his doctors did not immediately suspect mesothelioma when he began having one-sided chest pain. Chest pain is one of the classic symptoms of mesothelioma, but it is also a symptom of many other types of heart, … Continue reading The Challenge of Diagnosing Malignant Mesothelioma »

Mesothelioma Research Gets a Boost From New Tissue Bank

A new biobank of mesothelioma cell samples in the UK is set to help advance mesothelioma research around the world. The recently-opened mesothelioma tissue bank, called MesobanK UK, will be an international resource of cells specifically for use in mesothelioma research. Mesothelioma Cell Samples and More When the biobank is complete within the next few years, it is expected to contain samples of tissue, blood and pleural fluid from 300 patients with mesothelioma as well as 26 new mesothelioma cell lines. In addition to these cells, which are vital for mesothelioma research, the biobank will also include details from the medical records of these mesothelioma patients, collected by permission. “MesobanK has been created to establish a bioresource of pleural mesothelioma … Continue reading Mesothelioma Research Gets a Boost From New Tissue Bank »

Lung Fluid Versus Tissue Biopsy for Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Testing for certain biomarkers in lung fluid may offer a reliable way to help diagnose malignant mesothelioma, even without a tissue biopsy. Diagnosing mesothelioma from lung fluid alone is controversial. But pathology researchers in Seattle and Vancouver compared mesothelioma biomarkers BAP1 and p16 in lung fluid and tissue samples in 15 mesothelioma patients and got nearly identical results. Lung Fluid vs. Biopsy – Which was better? The tests included 15 patients with epithelial mesothelioma and 3 with benign mesothelial disease. Matched samples of tumor cells and lung fluid cells were tested for mutations in the BAP1 gene and for deletion of the p16 gene. Four of the fluid samples could only be tested for BAP1 but didn’t contain enough cells … Continue reading Lung Fluid Versus Tissue Biopsy for Mesothelioma Diagnosis »

Irish Physicians Frustrated by Inadequate Training for Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Do general pulmonologists have the training they need to diagnose an illness as rare and challenging as mesothelioma? There is evidence that, at least in Northern Ireland, they do not. A survey conducted of general respiratory physicians in Northern Ireland found that just over a third of the 32 respondents indicated a “lack of confidence in diagnosis and management” of occupational lung diseases like mesothelioma. Almost half said they were “dissatisfied” with their medical school training in occupational lung diseases. Occupational lung diseases include not only mesothelioma, but also other respiratory conditions such as asbestosis, pleural plagues, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, lung cancer, and occupational asthma. Many are related to asbestos exposure in jobs like electrical work, plumbing, construction, shipbuilding, and chrysotile mining. … Continue reading Irish Physicians Frustrated by Inadequate Training for Mesothelioma Diagnosis »

A New Look at the Complex Process of Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Mesothelioma is not only a difficult cancer to treat. It’s also notoriously difficult to diagnose. Because there are no definitive biomarkers that can quickly reveal if a patient has this aggressive cancer, diagnosing mesothelioma typically involves a combination of different techniques. A new article in the Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine highlights some of the most useful and important diagnostic tests for mesothelioma. Pathologists Qudsia Arif, MD, and Aliya Husain, MD, of the University of Chicago used peer-reviewed publications, text books, and consensus among their fellow pathologists to compile their recommendations. According to the report, among the possible diagnostic biomarkers for mesothelioma, four of the most reliable are the proteins calretinin, WT-1, cytokeratin 5/6, and podoplanin. These, say the … Continue reading A New Look at the Complex Process of Mesothelioma Diagnosis »

European Group Issues Updated Treatment Guidelines for Mesothelioma

physician and colleagues

A group of medical researchers has just released an updated set of clinical practice guidelines for treating patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma, one of the rarest and most treatment-resistant forms of cancer. The guidelines, released by the European Society for Medical Oncology and published in the newest issue of the Annals of Oncology, contain six sets of recommendations designed to support clinicians in the management of mesothelioma from diagnosis to treatment and follow-up. Recommendation for Mesothelioma Diagnosis The updated ESMO mesothelioma guidelines recommend that all patients undergo a thorough occupational history with emphasis on asbestos exposure and a CT scan of their chest. They also recommend that all patients with pleural thickening have a biopsy but do not recommend routine … Continue reading European Group Issues Updated Treatment Guidelines for Mesothelioma »

When “Breast Cancer” is Actually Mesothelioma

A new case study out of Italy highlights the importance of using all of the available tools – including patient history – to distinguish mesothelioma from other types of cancer. Oncologists in the Ob/Gyn department at Umberto I Hospital in Rome have just published the details of a female patient who was originally believed to have breast cancer. The 49-year-old hairdresser was found to have a hard lump, about 3 centimeters in diameter, lying against the lowest layers of her right breast. But when her doctors performed a biopsy and tested the cells, they discovered that the lump was not what they thought it was. “Estrogen receptors and progesterone receptors were negative,” writes Dr. Marialuisa Framarino-Dei-Malatesta, the paper’s lead author. … Continue reading When “Breast Cancer” is Actually Mesothelioma »

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