As some here in Illinois may already know, the link between cancer and asbestos is well documented. According to the American Cancer Society, it is believed that asbestos causes cancer when asbestos fibers are either breathed in or swallowed and get stuck in the small airways of the lungs. Constant irritation from these fibers can eventually cause mesothelioma or other types of lung cancer.
The key to early treatment with asbestos-related cancers is early detection. But because cancers like mesothelioma can sometimes take years to develop, early detection has been a constant problem for doctors across the nation — a problem that, until now, had been one that desperately needed to be solved.
Thanks to research conducted at the Copenhagen University in Denmark, doctors the world over may finally have a way to detect asbestos-related cancer earlier than ever before. The goal of the Danish researchers was to find the specific biomarkers that distinguished “asbestos cancer from non-malignant conditions.” By identifying these biomarkers, doctors could deliver an earlier diagnosis, which would then lead to immediate treatments.
By looking at miRNAs, which are “small cellular components that act as master switches for protein synthesis inside cells,” researchers isolated four biomarkers they believed to have the best link to pleural mesothelioma. After comparing them to tissue samples, the Copenhagen researchers found that their biomarker test was 94 percent accurate.
Though further studies will need to be done in order to confirm the scientists’ findings, it does at least offer a little hope to our Madison County readers who may be suffering from an asbestos-related illness.
Source: Surviving Mesothelioma, “New Biomarkers Could Mean Earlier, More Accurate Mesothelioma Diagnosis,” June 23, 2014