Study Shows Better Diagnostic Method for Abdominal Mesothelioma
Sufferers of peritoneal mesothelioma (also known as abdominal mesothelioma) may soon have a less invasive and less painful route to obtain their diagnosis if findings from a recent study out of China are widely embraced.
Because the symptoms of abdominal mesothelioma are not unique to this illness, it is usually not readily apparent that mesothelioma may be the source of the symptoms the patient is suffering.
Symptoms of Abdominal Mesothelioma Aren’t Unique to the Illness
Some of the most typical symptoms that may be associated with peritoneal mesothelioma include:
- Pain in the abdomen caused by the formation of mesothelioma tumors
- Swelling in the abdomen caused by fluid retained in the peritoneal tissues
- Ascites (accumulation of fluid in the abdomen) that causes weight gain in the mid-section, nausea and/or swelling of the lower extremities (feet or ankles)
- Weight loss due to loss of appetite as a result of abdominal discomfort
- Obstructed bowel
- Fever (caused by infection or presence of a tumor or bowel obstruction)
Typical Diagnosis May Be Time Consuming
After a physical exam, if the doctor suspects mesothelioma may be a possibility, scans including x-ray, MRO or CT scan may be performed. Next, the abdominal fluid may be drained via a process called paracentesis. This fluid will be tested, but isn’t sufficient to diagnose this illness.
Biopsies may then be collected via fine needle aspiration or peritoneoscopy which involves making a small cut in the abdomen to remove a tissue sample. If this is not sufficient, a more “surgical” and invasive biopsy procedure will be initiated. These processes can take months.
Method Proposed in Chinese Study
The study in China reiterated findings from a prior study out of Egypt. Both studies relied on percutaneous biopsy methods. Because of the ambiguous symptoms, abdominal mesothelioma is often misdiagnosed or under-diagnosed, so improving the diagnostic mechanism is critically important. For this study, patients who suffered ascites or abdominal swelling were given an ultrasound.
When questionable tissues was found, they took the ultrasound a step further and used it to guide a percutaneous (under the skin) needle biopsy into the affected area. The ultrasound guidance of the needle improved the ability to collect affected cells for diagnosis. The method utilized in the study resulted in diagnostic accuracy of nearly 93%.
Lead study author Jianhong Wang wrote, “Ultrasound-guided percutaneous biopsy could be a simple, safe and accurate diagnostic method in patients with ascites and/or abdominal distension with unclear causes.” The study was published last month in the World Journal of Surgical Oncology. This study provides promise because of its increased accuracy and decreased risk of infection and complications.
Percutaneous biopsy guided by CT cannot be done in real time. And while laparoscopy is highly accurate, it’s a complicated procedure that requires anesthesia and is risky for patients because it is a surgical procedure. The reason ultrasound was chosen as the diagnostic method is because it has been used successfully with lesions in other organs such as the kidneys, liver or pancreas.
Second Opinions and Physician Referrals
If you or a loved one are in the diagnostic process or just beginning a course of treatment for mesothelioma and would like a second opinion, Bergman Draper Oslund knows a number of reputable oncologists and treatment clinics throughout the Pacific Northwest that we can refer you to. Some practitioners may be willing to try experimental methods such as the needle biopsy used in this study.
Bergman Draper Oslund today for a free consultation. We have been helping victims of mesothelioma for more than 15 years and have won more than $700 million for clients just like you. We’re ready to help you today.