Importance of Early Diagnosis
For one, mesothelioma is said to have a poor prognosis, and like other cancers, early detection can help with the survival of the patient. If mesothelioma is caught before it has spread, the treatment options available may be more effective than if it has not been detected before metastasizing.
Again, detecting the cancer before it spreads opens up windows for more opportunities in treatment – aggressive treatment may be offered which may not be possible after spreading of the cancer for instance, surgery.
Today, much of the research is focused on enhancing the detection window and diagnosis of mesothelioma. For example, new studies are being done to find out suitable biomarkers in blood tests which may help detect substances associated with development of mesothelioma in the body of an individual.
Misdiagnosis of Mesothelioma
A big challenge with the treatment and prognosis of mesothelioma patients is that the cancer is often misdiagnosed during the initial stages mainly because many of the cancer’s symptoms resemble those of other diseases. Another reason why a misdiagnosis may occur is because mesothelioma by itself is a very rare cancer making doctors, at first, to be more inclined to check and diagnose a patient of other common diseases. Delaying treatment because of a misdiagnosis is something that has made the prognosis to be very poor.
Misdiagnosis of mesothelioma may vary depending on the cancer type an individual has developed. For instance, pleural mesothelioma may be misdiagnosed with asthma, pneumonia, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD, bronchial infections, or adenocarcinoma.
Peritoneal mesothelioma may be confused with a disease like irritable bowel syndrome, hernia, crohn’s disease, ovarian cancer, and other cancers of the abdominal organs.
When it comes to diagnosis of pericardial mesothelioma, it may be confused with a disease such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, tuberculosis pericarditis, or synovial sarcoma.
- Mesothelioma Diagnosis. Available at https://www.mesothelioma.com/mesothelioma/diagnosis/
- Guidelines for Pathologic Diagnosis of Malignant Mesothelioma. Available at http://www.archivesofpathology.org/doi/pdf/10.1043/1543-2165-133.8.1317?code=coap-site
- Guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma. Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3886874/