Receiving an accurate diagnosis is paramount for people with mesothelioma. They should know exactly where they stand: how advanced the cancer is, options for treatment options, and their prognosis.
Unfortunately, misdiagnoses are common for mesothelioma. Even if doctors get the disease correct, they mistake the stage.
A new study shows that MRI scans are better than CT scans for estimating tumor size. This measurement helps doctors properly stage mesothelioma. MRI scans even correlated with improved survival.
Comparing MRI and CT for Mesothelioma
MRI is the acronym for magnetic resonance imaging. CT is the acronym for computed tomography. These two scans are used prior to a biopsy, which is the only definitive way to detect mesothelioma. Scans can show evidence of disease and help with staging.
Of the 58 patients in the study, MRI scans produced larger tumor volumes and were associated with survival. CT scans took longer to compute (151 minutes on average, compared to just 14 minutes). The conclusion pointed to MRI being the preferred scan for assessing tumor volume.
“In this study, MRI volumes were larger and were independently associated with survival. MRI volumetry was quicker and more reproducible than CT,” the study report stated.
CT scans provide three-dimensional images of bones, cartilage and soft tissue. They’re useful for finding tumors and estimating their volume. MRI scans go a step further, giving detailed visuals of soft tissue in the body. This technology can show images of soft tissue parts that other scans can’t see.
Why Accurate Staging Is Needed
Getting an accurate tumor volume analysis — and correct staging — is key to improving survival. In one study, around half of 1,056 patients were either upstaged or downstaged following their initial diagnosis.
Patients who are incorrectly diagnosed with an early stage of mesothelioma may undergo treatment that they shouldn’t. People diagnosed with a late-stage mesothelioma may miss out on a chance to receive aggressive, life-saving treatment like surgery.
We recommend visiting a cancer center to ensure an accurate diagnosis. Even if you are diagnosed, we recommend getting a second opinion. Email our patient advocate and registered nurse, Karen Ritter, at firstname.lastname@example.org for help finding a cancer center.
Sources & Author
- A comparison between MRI and CT in the assessment of primary tumour volume in mesothelioma. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33039775/. Accessed: 10/20/2020.
- Initial Analysis of the International Association For the Study of Lung Cancer Mesothelioma Database. Journal of Thoracic Oncology. Retrieved from: https://www.jto.org/article/S1556-0864(15)33132-4/fulltext. Accessed: 04/14/2020.
Sources & Author