If you have a history of asbestos exposure, mesothelioma screening could help save your life. Most people with mesothelioma don’t realize that anything is wrong until their cancer is in its later stages, at which point the tumors become more difficult to treat. With regular screenings, however, at-risk individuals are able to receive professional monitoring for any abnormalities that might arise, and physicians can detect potential problems long before they start to cause any symptoms.
Although there’s no single mesothelioma screening test that can conclusively detect the cancer, a physician may recommend a combination of helpful procedures, including:
- Pulmonary function tests
- Chest X-rays or computed tomography (CT) scans
- Blood tests for osteopontin and/or soluble mesothelin-related peptides, which people with mesothelioma often have in high concentrations in their blood
Because mesothelioma is a relatively rare cancer, only people who meet certain risk criteria need to participate in screenings. People who have been heavily exposed to asbestos for a prolonged period of time have the highest risk of developing the disease. Because asbestos exposure most commonly occurred at industrial worksites prior to federal regulations being enacted in the 1970s, people who have the highest need for mesothelioma screening include construction workers, boiler workers, shipbuilders, and workers from other industrial occupations.
Mesothelioma does have a long latency period, which means that people who were exposed to asbestos several decades ago may just now be beginning to notice adverse effects. That means even if it’s been a long time since you were exposed to asbestos, mesothelioma screening programs may still be worth considering.
At Moffitt Cancer Center, we can help you determine if you would benefit from some form of mesothelioma screening. No referral is necessary to meet with our mesothelioma team – just call 1-888-MOFFITT or submit a new patient registration form online.