Construction workers, factory and shipyard workers, veterans and untold numbers of others are at risk for malignant mesothelioma as a result of having been exposed to asbestos. Because the rare and deadly form of cancer has such a long latency period, these men and women are forced to live with a cloud of anxiety, worrying with every cough and twinge that it may be the first sign that the deadly disease was in fact hiding within their cells. But now a national lung cancer study is pointing towards a valuable tool to help relieve them of these concerns.
Annual Low-Dose CT Can Spot Mesothelioma Early
The study that is attracting the attention of those at risk for mesothelioma was actually conducted to determine whether low-dose CT screening can help spot lung cancer early, but its results are applicable to those at risk for the asbestos-related disease too. More than 53,000 lung cancer patients participated in the twelve-year-long National Lung Screening Trial, which took more than six years to reach its conclusions.
According to the researchers’ analysis, lung cancer patients were able to add another ten years to their lives by having been screened for at least three years. It does this by identifying the cancer early, a result that would make a significant difference in physicians’ ability to treat malignant mesothelioma.
Late-State Diagnosis Makes Mesothelioma Treatment Harder
The more advanced a cancer like malignant mesothelioma is at the time of diagnosis, the harder it is to treat, and the worse the patient’s prognosis. The lung cancer study showing that low-dose CT screenings can extend survival can be extrapolated to the asbestos-related cancer.
If low-dose CT screening can catch cancer early, then it makes sense for those with a known exposure to asbestos undergo regular annual screenings. In doing so, these diagnostic tests could identify the tumors when they are small and operable, thus providing victims of asbestos exposure with a much-extended period of survival.
Whether you have been exposed to asbestos and fear mesothelioma or have already been diagnosed with this terrible disease, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608 to learn more.