When a patient is suspected of having malignant pleural mesothelioma, it is common for their physician to order a series of tests, including a CT scan of their chest. But researchers from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom have recently concluded that confining the imaging study to just the chest is insufficient, and that patients are better served with a more thorough scan that extends down to the pelvis.
Imaging Abdomen and Pelvis Essential in Suspected Pleural Mesothelioma
While it is common for CT scans to be taken of just the chests of patients exhibiting mesothelioma symptoms, the UK study found that doing so often misses the full extent of the disease. In an examination of 249 patients presenting with unilateral pleural effusion – a collection of fluid on one side of the chest that is common in mesothelioma – diagnostic CT scans that went beyond the chest to include the abdomen and pelvis revealed “clinically significant” findings below the diaphragm in 25 percent of cases.
While the confirmation of cancer or some other “clinically significant” finding in the chests of fifty-six percent of the participants was enough to identify mesothelioma and begin treatment, had those patients not been as thoroughly examined, the cancers or pre-cancers below the chest would not have been discovered as early on, and would have been able to continue spreading.
More Extensive Scan Speeds Mesothelioma Treatment
Writing of their findings in the BMJ publication Thorax, lead author Tom Syer indicated, “Integrating this approach into standard practice allows more rapid identification of the primary malignancy, upstaging lesions or alternative sites for biopsy.”
While finding effective treatments for mesothelioma is a global goal, it is of particular importance in the United Kingdom, which has been hard hit by the disease as a result of the significant amount of asbestos that was used in the country after World War II.
If you or someone you love has been exposed to asbestos, being diagnosed quickly is essential to extending survival and quality of life. For information on the most state-of-the-art treatment, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.