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A retrospective study on an innovative mesothelioma biopsy procedure has yielded good news for patients suspected of having malignant pleural mesothelioma. Where in the past these patients have needed to undergo an invasive surgical diagnostic procedure to confirm the presence of cancer, a new and less invasive technology has proven to be highly accurate. It also has the advantage of having fewer potentially  harmful side effects.

The study, which was recently published in the journal CardioVascular and Interventional Radiology, examined the role of percutaneous image-guided biopsies in detecting malignant pleural mesothelioma, a rare and fatal form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. Where the traditional method of confirming this diagnosis involve the use of a procedure called thoracoscopy, or even an open surgery to remove samples of tissues from the chest, these protocols have several negative side effects, including being uncomfortable and expensive as well as the risk of seeding the cancer cells to other areas in the body that are exposed during the procedure.

In light of this, researchers from the Mayo Clinic analyzed the results yielded in 32 patients diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma who had been diagnosed through the use of a new technology called a percutaneous image-guided biopsy. This procedure uses an automated biopsy needle that the physician uses in combination with ultrasound imaging. Patients do not require an overnight stay in the hospital, and no chest tube needs to be implanted following the procedure.

The retrospective study revealed that in addition to offering the advantage of better comfort and less pain and disruption for the patient, the automated biopsies accurately diagnosed the patient’s condition 81 percent of the time. Perhaps most importantly of all, it also eliminated the risk of transferring cancer cells into the surgical site and spreading the disease. The study’s authors write, “Our study demonstrates percutaneous image-guided biopsy for malignant pleural mesothelioma is associated with extremely low rates of complication, negligible risk of tract seeding, and acceptable sensitivity. Percutaneous image-guided biopsy may be a reasonable, less costly, and less invasive first step to obtain histologic confirmation of malignant pleural mesothelioma and obviate the need for further intervention in the majority of patients.”

People who are suspected of having mesothelioma have enough on their plates without having to undergo unnecessary or expensive procedures. This study is just one step to eliminating some of the issues that impact quality of life, as well as high cost. For guidance on other important steps you can take to make things easier for yourself, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at t 1-800-692-8608. We are here to help.

Author: Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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