Mesothelioma Lawyer Says CT Scans Offer Hope to Those Exposed to Asbestos
A recently released government-funded study shows that an annual CT scan can spot lung cancer early and reduce the risk of heavy smokers dying from the disease by 20 percent. These scans may also be beneficial for the early detection of mesothelioma, an asbestos-related pulmonary cancer. Exposure to asbestos is a risk factor that increases the likelihood of a person developing lung cancer and other respiratory diseases including mesothelioma.
Joseph W. Belluck, a New York personal injury attorney who concentrates in asbestos illness cases, says the news that CT scans improve early detection of lung cancer, and potentially mesothelioma, marks a rare advance against the deadly diseases. Lung cancer experts say this finding could save thousands of lives.
The study began in 2002 where more than 53,000 men and women who had a history of heavy smoking for 15 years or longer were randomly assigned to receive three annual screenings with a low dose CT scan or a standard chest X-ray. They were then followed for up to five years. A significantly larger number of deaths occurred among those who had chest X-rays versus those who had CT scans, leading the researchers to conclude that a CT scan is preferable to a traditional chest X-ray for lung cancer screening and for detecting cancerous tumors at an earlier stage.
Mesothelioma has a long latency period, and those exposed to asbestos may not exhibit symptoms for 30-50 years after exposure. Most often diagnoses are not made until symptoms appear and the disease has progressed to an advanced stage leaving the patient with life-threatening complications. Early detection of mesothelioma can positively influence a patient’s survival by increasing treatment options and improving their quality of life while battling the cancer.
“I have seen those who struggle with the pain and lack of hope connected to this illness,” says Belluck, a founding partner of the law firm of Belluck & Fox, LLP. ”It’s wonderful to see that those who are at risk may soon have a better method for detecting and surviving lung cancer related to asbestos exposure.”