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Protein can aid in mesothelioma diagnosis

Oklahoma patients suffering from malignant mesothelioma may have heard of a study that could improve the way they are treated for this rare form of cancer. According to researchers from the University of Hawaii Cancer Center and other hospitals, a certain protein can be used as a tool to assist oncologists to accurately identify and diagnose mesothelioma.

The study is significant because physicians often misdiagnose the condition for lung cancer for many reasons. One factor is that pleural mesothelioma has many symptoms similar to lung cancer. Further, while the condition originates in a patient's stomach, heart or chest lining, it can end up spreading very quickly to the lungs. Other factors include pathologists inexperienced with the disease, an incorrect needle biopsy or an erroneous specimen. For these reasons, it may be beneficial for people suffering with pleural mesothelioma to seek a specialist who can identify and treat the cancer correctly.

It is important for patients of mesothelioma to seek medical attention during the early stages of the condition while treatment is clear-cut. Otherwise, when the condition becomes aggressive, the options are limited and the diagnosis is usually bleak. In fact, many mesothelioma patients who undergo proper treatment in the latter stages of the cancer only have roughly six to 18 months to live.

In the United States, 3,000 cases of pleural mesothelioma appear each year, and it is estimated that about 10 percent of them are misdiagnosed. Conversely, each year about 200,000 individuals are diagnosed with lung cancer. While these two diseases have similar symptoms, clinical trials show that they differ significantly.

When a physician or specialist fails to correctly diagnose a patient for a serious disease, the patient could suffer catastrophic injury and even death. Therefore, the patient or the patient's family may consider pursuing damages via a medical malpractice lawsuit filed with legal assistance.

Source: asbestos. com, "Protein Helps Doctors Diagnose Mesothelioma More Accurately", Tim Povtak, Aug. 4, 2016

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