Japanese researchers are suggesting that the difficulty in diagnosing pleural mesothelioma may require more invasive measures.
For patients who can tolerate the procedure, an operation to remove part of the chest lining may be the best way to diagnose early malignant pleural mesothelioma.
The standard and least invasive diagnostic test when pleural mesothelioma is suspected is pleural effusion cytology. A buildup of fluid between the layers of the pleura, known as pleural effusion, is one of the first clinical signs of mesothelioma. Doctors draw of some of this fluid to test for cancer cells.
The Japanese researchers point out that this method has a level of sensitivity of only about 60 percent. False negatives result in a delay of critical treatments.
In order to get a more reliable diagnoses, they suggest performing a thoracoscopic pleural biopsy. This involves removing a part of the chest lining. Even this, they admit, will sometimes fail to diagnose the disease. When this is the case, they recommend an even more invasive procedure called a total parietal pleurectomy.
This final option involves removing the outside or parietal layer of the pleura. The risk of the operation must be weighed against the risk of untreated mesothelioma. If the patient’s health is strong enough to take the procedure, it could be lifesaving.
Cappolino Dodd Krebs, LLP – mesothelioma attorneys