Blood test for mesothelioma

The 3rd European Lung Cancer Conference was recently held in Geneva, Switzerland.

At this conference, the findings of an Australian study on mesothelioma were presented. This study suggested molecules in blood may well be able to be used in diagnosing mesothelioma. If this study is right, then potentially mesothelioma could be diagnosed earlier than it currently is, which could potentially lead to better treatment of mesothelioma.

Worldwide study on mesothelioma continues. It is hoped this will ultimately lead to better treatment of this dreadful asbestos condition.

Mesothelioma Chemotherapy

Since 2008, the chemotherapy drug Alimta has been available in Australia through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme when used on someone suffering mesothelioma, the asbestos related cancer.

The manufactures of Alimta, hold the view that this chemotherapy drug is a treatment for pleural mesothelioma in combination with cisplatin (another chemotherapy drug) in circumstances when surgery is not an option.

Over the last few years, many of our clients suffering mesothelioma have undergone Alimta treatment with some reporting very positive results.

It is important to note however that individuals suffering mesothelioma should speak with their treating specialist to see whether this treatment is appropriate in their specific circumstance.

Pleurodesis mesothelioma

Those suffering pleural mesothelioma often initially experience extreme shortness of breath. Often, a fluid build up in the pleura (which covers the lung) causes this breathlessness. This fluid build up is known as a pleural effusion.

A pleurodesis is a procedure whereby talcum powder is inserted into the pleura to stick both layers of the pleura together. The intention of a pleurodesis is to prevent the re-accumulation of fluid in the pleural space.

A study published in the European Journal of Radiology noted that 58% of patients (in a study of 99 persons) presented with large pleural effusions for which a pleurodesis offered potential relief. A pleurodesis is considered successful when no further fluid accumulates.

In South Australia, we have found that for someone suffering a pleural mesothelioma, a pleurodesis if often (but not always) suggested.

Clearly whether or not a pleurodesis should be performed following the diagnosis of mesothelioma is something that must be determined by your specialist.