Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of cancer that is linked to asbestos exposure. It affects the thin layer of tissue surrounding the lungs, chest wall, or abdomen. Unlike other types of cancer, it can take up to 50 years after their initial asbestos exposure for individuals to recognize the signs of mesothelioma.
Diagnosing mesothelioma can be difficult. The early symptoms of this disease often mimic the natural process of aging or a respiratory infection. Yet, early detection can help improve survival rates. While mesothelioma is not curable, patients can live longer with early treatment.
A new discovery, however, could lead to a more accurate prognosis for patients, as well as future advancements in mesothelioma treatment. Researchers recently identified a new protein CD70 found on pleural mesothelioma cells. Patients with this protein often experience shorter survival in spite of treatment.
How This News Impacts Mesothelioma Diagnosis?
While at first glance, this may seem like bad news. The identification of this protein may help scientists develop further treatment options for these patients. They may also help doctors identify aggressive mesothelioma quicker, leading to improved survival times.
This isn’t the first time a new mesothelioma protein has been identified. In 2016, researchers identified a tumor-suppressing protein that could help oncologists differentiate mesothelioma from lung cancer. People who lacked this particular protein were more likely to develop malignant mesothelioma.
This research helps doctors more accurately diagnose mesothelioma patients. After all, misdiagnosis is common in the early stages of mesothelioma. Patients are often diagnosed with pneumonia, respiratory infections, asthma, and even lung cancer before ultimately reaching a diagnosis of mesothelioma. It is estimated that as many as 10 percent of mesothelioma cases are initially misdiagnosed.
Understanding Treatment Options for Mesothelioma
As with most types of cancer, mesothelioma patients have a variety of treatment options. Some of these options are invasive and risky. Other options are palliative and designed to help reduce discomfort during the final stages of the disease.
Some of the treatment options for mesothelioma patients include:
- Heated Intraoperative Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy
- Radiation therapy
- Photodynamic therapy
- Targeted drugs
These treatment options offer patients the best chance of increasing their survival once they have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. The average life expectancy after a mesothelioma diagnosis is 14 to 22 months. While survival rates are low for mesothelioma, they can improve with early detection and treatment.
When someone is diagnosed with mesothelioma early, in stage 1 or stage 2, they often qualify for surgery. Surgery gives patients the best chance at a longer survival time.
Since early detection is the key to receiving early treatment, the identification of proteins in the body can help doctors make a more accurate diagnosis. Avoiding diagnostic delays could help mesothelioma patients live up to a year longer. As mesothelioma research continues to advance, more mesothelioma patients are beating the odds and living longer.
Has Your Loved One Been Diagnosed with Mesothelioma? We Can Help!
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is important to speak to a Louisiana personal injury attorney immediately. Without an attorney on your side, you may not be able to obtain the compensation you deserve.
Landry & Swarr is a New Orleans personal injury law firm with a focus on mesothelioma. We have helped numerous Louisiana clients who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. If you or a family member feel that you may have contracted mesothelioma due to contact with asbestos, call 504-299-1214 and speak to one of our attorneys about your legal options.