Testing for Mesothelioma

At the time of writing, there is no screening programme for mesothelioma in the UK. Before screening for any type of cancer can be carried out, doctors must have an accurate test to use. The test must be reliable in picking up cancers that are there. And it must not give a positive result in people who do not have cancer.

If screening were to be introduced for mesothelioma, the test would have to be simple, quick and not too expensive. Diagnosing mesothelioma can be difficult. The usual tests for lung diseases often appear to be negative with mesothelioma.

As only about 2,000 cases are diagnosed each year, it is not sensible to screen everyone in the country for such a rare disease.

It would be more cost effective to screen people who are thought to be at a higher risk of mesothelioma. But to do that, we have to be able to identify all those who are at higher risk.

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