A new, minimally-invasive testing procedure used to determine lymph node staging in pleural mesothelioma is helping patients avoid unnecessary surgery in advanced cases of the disease. The endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration (EBUS-TBNA) procedure allows doctors to examine the mediastinal lymph nodes deep in the chest wall to determine the presence of advanced pleural mesothelioma.
By removing tissue from these lymph nodes, doctors can stage the progression of pleural mesothelioma to determine if surgery would be beneficial to the management of the disease. In cases where the lymph nodes show advanced progression of the disease, surgery would not benefit the patient. Avoiding this unnecessary surgery can increase the quality of life for the patient.
Plueral mesothelioma is a terminal cancer that is directly related to exposure of asbestos fibers. When airborne asbestos fibers are inhaled, the toxic fibers become deeply imbedded in lung tissue and the pleural lining of the chest cavity. These fibers can lay dormant for a period of 20 to 40 years before victims develop the disease.
This type of cancer is usually terminal with an average lifespan of 16 to 21 months post-diagnosis. Surgery has been shown to be effective at prolonging the life span of those in the early stages of the disease, but least effective to those in advanced stages. The risks of surgery to those with advanced pleural mesothelioma can shorten the life span of some patients. The EBUS-TBNA procedure allows doctors to determine if surgery is a benefit for the patient. For those with advanced stages of the disease, avoiding unnecessary surgery can help preserve the quality of life the patient experiences.
The EBUS-TBNA procedure is an out-patient minimally invasive procedure that allows doctors to access lymph nodes deep inside the chest wall. A long, fiber optic tube is inserted into the mouth, down the trachea, and into the bronchi in the lungs. Using ultrasound technology and a specialized aspiration needle, the doctor can view the inside of the lungs, airways, and lymph nodes, and remove a small piece of the lymph nodes for staging. Pathology can then examine the tissue and determine if the cancer has spread to surrounding areas, and to what degree the cancer has progressed within the lungs. Lymph nodes found between Stage Three and Four are not recommended for surgical intervention.
The traditional method for staging pleural mesothelioma lymph nodes involved making an incision in the neck and inserting a scope through the incision to access the lungs and surrounding lymph nodes. The EBUS-TBNA procedure requires no incision and allows doctors to access areas deep within the lung tissue and surrounding areas. Initial diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma can be difficult with just x-rays, CT scans, and blood work. The disease can only be truly diagnosed and staged using a tissue biopsy. The new, minimally invasive EBUS-TBNA procedure provides patients with accurate results and effective treatment options.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact the Delaware mesothelioma lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. today. Call us at 302-656-5445 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Our Wilmington and Georgetown, Delaware offices serve clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.