Mesothelioma Diagnostic Test Offers Hope

Bree Knoester recently provided mesothelioma legal advice to 70-year-old woman. But why was she diagnosed and what does the future hold for her seven brothers and sisters?

When I recently advised a 70-year-old woman about legal options following her diagnosis of mesothelioma, one of her first thoughts was for her seven brothers and sisters who had also worked with their father using asbestos products in his building business.

Some siblings had distinct memories of particular products, cutting and drilling into those products whilst others remembered their father’s loyalty to a particular asbestos product brand. But why was she the only sibling to contract mesothelioma and what did the future hold for her siblings and their risk of mesothelioma?

A promising diagnostic breath test presented at the 2023 World Conference on Lung Cancer held in October may have some of the answers.

Testing for Mesothelioma

At the Conference, University of Antwerp scientists detailed the results of their mesothelioma breath test which is part of the MESOBREATH 5 study.

121 participants with a history of asbestos exposure at least 30 years ago were recruited and underwent breath testing in 2022 and 2023. Testing will continue this year and into 2025. Those who had already been diagnosed with mesothelioma testing positive two years in a row. And those whose breath test revealed volatile organic compounds that may be mesothelioma markers of disease, also tested positive two years in a row.

False positives were also present in the study results and scientists consider some of these may be in fact individuals with early signs of disease. Those participants go on to have low-dose CT scans to check for mesothelioma.

The breath test results also are effective in measuring how mesothelioma may behave once a diagnosis was confirmed with scientists stating that the amount of volatile organic compounds could be linked to the behaviour of the tumour.

What is remarkable about this possible diagnostic test is that it is non-invasive and may act as a reassuring step for families such as those we are currently assisting at Brave Legal. Whilst the possibility of earlier detection arises – this also carries with it the hope of early intervention and a better outcome. All avenues of hope are greatly needed when it comes to this disease.

I know that this test would certainly be taken up by the siblings of our client as they try and answer the question of “why not me, and why my sister” and become concerned about their own future health. What a gift if those family members could be reassured that their results did not suggest an impending diagnosis.

We have seen the positive impact of the introduction of immunotherapy following a mesothelioma diagnosis and then the expansion of the availability of this treatment via the PBS. To have an earlier diagnostic test may be another small step in trying to pro-actively treat, at the earliest possible time, the aggressive and unfair asbestos legacy that is mesothelioma.

If you or a friend or family member have been affected by asbestos exposure, it is important to obtain expert advice at the earliest possible time. Compensation is available in many circumstances but seeking assistance shortly after diagnosis is the best way to ensure that a legal outcome is quick and you can focus on more important things like your family and well-being.

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