When a patient presents with symptoms that suggest malignant pleural mesothelioma, there is an established protocol that often involves a thoracoscopy to confirm a diagnosis. But now researchers from Universite Laval in Quebec have published a study showing that doctors can allow patients whose health is too fragile for that invasive procedure to skip it, and rely instead solely on medical history and the results of CT imaging.
Extensive Testing May Be Too Much for Mesothelioma Patients
Though there is no doubt that the gold standard of diagnosis for malignant pleural mesothelioma consists of a thorough physical exam and analysis of medical history, followed by testing of blood, diagnostic imaging, and pathological findings of tissue studies. But in order to analyze tissue from the pleural area, a sample must be taken through a procedure called thoracoscopy.
Though thoracoscopy is the most accurate diagnostic tool for malignant pleural mesothelioma, French and Candian researchers noted that it is also extremely taxing for patients who may already be in marginal health. They set out to determine whether a lower level of diagnostic steps might also provide accurate results.
Mesothelioma Study Included 92 Patients
In order to reach their conclusion that imaging studies alone could give mesothelioma physicians enough information to make a positive diagnosis, the researchers reviewed post-treatment reports on 92 patients, all of whom had been diagnosed with the rare and deadly form of cancer. Based strictly on the medical histories that had been taken and the results of their CT scans, they were able to determine that those with a certain amount of pleural thickening had the highest likelihood of a positive diagnosis, and that alone was enough for them to move forward with treatment if patients could not withstand the demands of thoracoscopy.
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