Even in 2018, there is still no cure for mesothelioma. By the time patients are diagnosed with mesothelioma, they usually only have a few years left to live. Yet discovering mesothelioma earlier can lead to better treatment options that could help patients live longer, healthier lives with this incurable disease. But is there a way to test for this deadly cancer?
The answer is yes and no. A new blood test has the potential to detect mesothelioma a decade before patients exhibit any symptoms. However, it cannot detect mere asbestos exposure. In fact, some individuals who have been exposed to asbestos never develop the malignant cancer, while others do. Scientists still aren’t certain as to why some individuals develop mesothelioma. Yet, this new blood test can detect the presence of a protein that is often a precursor to mesothelioma symptoms. Researchers hope that this blood test will allow doctors to identify which patients are at risk and which are not.
How does the blood test work? The new blood test looks for cell surface proteins called ENOX2. They are only produced by mesothelioma cancer cells. Asbestos exposed workers or those who believe that they may have been exposed to asbestos in their lives can take these blood tests to monitor the proteins in their blood and help them receive even earlier life-saving treatments and interventions. Studies have shown that these proteins could be detected 4 to 10 years before mesothelioma symptoms even appear.
Fortunately, this isn’t the only blood test that can help doctors make an earlier diagnosis of mesothelioma. There are other blood tests that look for biomarkers in the blood of mesothelioma patients. These blood tests can’t definitively diagnose mesothelioma, but they can be an important and extremely useful diagnostic tool. Some of these tests include:
- MESOMARK blood test – measures soluble mesothelin-related peptides (SMRP).
- SOMAmer blood test – measures a panel of 13 biomarkers to help detect mesothelioma. It is 90% accurate.
- Human MPF Elisa Kit – this test measures MPF a protein that is encoded in a specific gene.
- Fibulin-3 Test – this test can help distinguish between those who have been exposed to asbestos are cancer free versus those who have begun to develop mesothelioma.
Impact on Mesothelioma Survival & Treatment
Malignant mesothelioma is often difficult to diagnose because its early symptoms are subtle and often attributed to everyday ailments or the normal aging process. Discovering these malignant cancer cells in its earliest stages will allow doctors to begin chemotherapy or lung tumor removal before the cancer has had a chance to metastasize. This could drastically improve the life expectancy for asbestos exposed individuals. In addition, learning more about these proteins will enable doctors and researchers to develop new treatment programs better targeted towards improving mesothelioma and maybe even curing it.
Currently, treatment for mesothelioma involves a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. When improving is no longer an option, mesothelioma patients can receive palliative care and treatment aimed at reducing their pain and suffering.
Have You Been Diagnosed with Mesothelioma?
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is important to speak to an experienced mesothelioma attorney to review your case. If your asbestos exposure was caused by your job or your loved one’s job, you may be entitled to compensation. At Landry & Swarr, our attorneys can help hold negligent employers accountable and pursue maximum compensation, so you have the money you need during this difficult time. If you would like a no-obligation consultation please contact us today. You can reach us by telephone at 504-299-1214 or come by our offices at 1100 Poydras St. Energy Centre – Suite 2000 New Orleans, LA 70163.