Not all clinical trials are treatment trials. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) runs a number of additional types of trials such as screening, prevention, and genetics trials, After treatment, the largest number of trials are for diagnostic trials which are designed to find better ways to diagnose patients. This is particularly important for malignant mesothelioma because diagnosis is so often delayed. Symptoms for mesothelioma are often confused with other less serious medical condition which can make it difficult for doctors to come up with a timely diagnosis.
Using the NCI’s clinical trial search page for mesothelioma diagnostic trials currently shows nine protocols. Most of these trials don’t have a phase designation like treatment trials do, but this is typical of diagnostic trials.
A look below at just a few of the trial titles suggests some interesting new diagnostic approaches:
Diagnosis usually follows if you have a symptom or your screening test result suggests cancer, the doctor must find out whether it is due to cancer or to some other cause. The doctor may ask about your personal and family medical history and do a physical exam. The doctor also may order lab tests, x-rays, or other tests or procedures.
Tests of the blood, urine, or other fluids can help doctors make a diagnosis. These tests can show how well an organ (such as the kidney) is doing its job. Also, high amounts of some substances may be a sign of cancer. These substances are often called tumor markers. However, abnormal lab results are not a sure sign of cancer. Doctors cannot rely on lab tests alone to diagnose cancer.
Imaging procedures create pictures of an area inside your body that help the doctor see whether a tumor is present. These pictures can be made in several ways:
Perhaps the most important cancer test is the biopsy because it is the only definitive test of cancer. In most cases, doctors need to do a biopsy to make a diagnosis of cancer. For a biopsy, the doctor removes a sample of tissue and sends it to a lab. A pathologist looks at the tissue under a microscope.
If you are interested in taking part in a diagnostic clinical trial for mesothelioma consider asking Dr. Gill about it with the form below. You can also use the link in the second paragraph above to read through the trials posted at NCI. When you find a few diagnostic clinical trials that interest you, either bring the information to your doctor to discuss it, or you can call the trial directly to see if you are eligible.
To answer these questions please use this form to send a request. Dr. Gill will make a reply by return e-mail.
Please allow some time for him to respond, depending on his schedule and the volume of questions this can take a few hours or days.
Compose your question for Dr. Gill here:
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