People who know they were exposed to asbestos in the past often wonder if there is a test for asbestos in the body.
For those who suspect they were exposed but aren’t sure, they wonder if there is an overall test for asbestos exposure.
Many also wonder if there is a screening test for mesothelioma, a cancer whose only known cause is exposure to asbestos.
Unfortunately, there is no definitive test yet to determine whether a person will develop mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos.
However, doctors do use a variety of diagnostic tests at the first sign of symptoms to determine how asbestos exposure may be affecting the patient.
Imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs are more commonly used to diagnose mesothelioma.
However, blood tests for biomarkers have the potential to eventually improve early detection of the asbestos cancer.
The American Cancer Society reports that doctors have discovered that mesothelioma patients tend to have higher levels of certain biomarkers in their blood, making these types of tests a promising diagnostic tool.
If you or a loved one is experiencing mesothelioma symptoms and is undergoing diagnostic testing, know that financial help is available after a mesothelioma diagnosis.
Contact us now to discuss your legal options and find the medical support you need.
What Are Biomarkers?
Biomarkers, sometimes called tumor markers, are substances such as proteins that are produced by cancer cells or other cells in the body that are responding to cancer.
These substances may be found in the body normally, but they are found in higher levels when cancer is present.
Different cancers may be identified by different biomarkers. There is no single biomarker that identifies all cancers.
Blood tests can help identify elevated biomarkers in mesothelioma patients. Although these blood tests alone are not sufficient to diagnose the cancer yet, they may be used in combination with other diagnostic techniques.
What Blood Tests Are Used for Mesothelioma?
There are a variety of blood tests that may be used to help detect mesothelioma in patients who have been exposed to asbestos.
These tests include:
- MESOMARK: The MESOMARK blood test, developed by Fujirebio Diagnostics, measures soluble mesothelin-related peptides (SMRP), which is a biomarker produced by mesothelioma cells. Although SMRP can register at elevated levels years before mesothelioma has developed, the MESOMARK assay (or test) can help doctors monitor patients who are at the greatest risk for developing the disease. The MESOMARK test can also aid doctors in determining how a mesothelioma patient is responding to treatment.
- SOMAmer: The Slow Off-rate Modified Aptamer (SOMAmer) proteomic test measures a panel of 13 biomarkers to detect mesothelioma. Researchers have determined this test to be accurate in about 90 percent of cases.
- Human MPF Elisa Kit: This type of test measures megakaryocyte potentiating factor (MPF), a protein encoded in the MSLN gene. The test can be done using the Human N-ERC/Mesothelin Assay kit (developed by Immuno-Biological Laboratories) or the Ab-Match ASSEMBLY Human MPF kit and Ab-Match UNIVERSAL kit (developed by Medical & Biological Laboratories).
- Fibulin-3 Test: Research has shown that testing of the biomarker fibulin-3 can help distinguish between people who have been exposed to asbestos but are cancer-free vs. those who have mesothelioma. The study shows this test is 95 percent accurate in this capacity.
- Additional biomarker tests: Research into mesothelioma biomarker testing is always evolving. And there are several other biomarkers (and combinations) that have proven to be useful in detecting the cancer or monitoring the effectiveness of treatment. Additional biomarker tests you may want to discuss with your doctor include: mesothelin, osteopontin, Cancer Antigen 125 (CA 125), 8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine (8OHdG), vascular endothelial growth factor-beta (VEGF-B), interleukine-6 (IL-6), and estrogen receptor beta (ERβ).
In addition to using these tests as a diagnostic tool, your doctor may use biomarker blood tests for mesothelioma to track the progression of the disease and determine whether a course of treatment is effective.
Recognizing Symptoms of Mesothelioma
For most people, a diagnosis of mesothelioma comes only after they have begun experiencing symptoms of the disease.
If you have been exposed to asbestos and are experiencing any of the following symptoms, talk to your doctor immediately:
- Shortness of breath
- Fluid build-up around the lungs or in the abdominal cavity
- Chronic, dry, or painful cough
- Chest pain or abdominal pain
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty swallowing
- Lumps under the skin on the chest
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, your doctor will want to develop a treatment plan for you as soon as possible. In addition to learning about your mesothelioma treatment options, you should also learn about what financial compensation may be available to you from the asbestos companies that put your health at risk.
Contact us today to learn about legal help for mesothelioma patients.