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Choosing Your Mesothelioma Treatment Should Be Based on Health, Not Age

When a patient is diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare and fatal form of cancer, there are many questions that need to be answered. The most important of these is what type of treatment protocol is most appropriate for them. The answer to this question is dependent upon many factors, including the type of mesothelioma that the patient has, the extent to which it has spread, and what the patient’s goals are.

In some cases, patients want to pursue the most aggressive treatment possible with the hopes that it will make a significant difference in the amount of time that they have left, while in other cases they simply want to be able to live the rest of their days comfortably. This is a decision to be made by a patient, his family and his physician. One thing that many people take into account is the patient’s age, which many have believed worthy of consideration. The traditional view has been that the older a patient is, the less beneficial and more dangerous surgery may be. But researchers are finding that this is not the case, and that an older patient who is in good general health can get almost the same benefit from surgical resection of a mesothelioma tumor as is true of younger patients.

This new viewpoint comes in part from a study that was done on 282 mesothelioma patients between the years 1999 and 2015. The patients all underwent pleurectomy/decortication surgery at Glenfield Hospital, and the study results were recently revealed at the European Lung Cancer Conference in Geneva, Switzerland According to Dr. Annabel Sharkey, a cardiothoractic surgeon at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom, patients were selected for surgery based upon a process that evaluated their overall health without paying particular attention to age. What they found was that,

“Patients have to be fit enough, not just to withstand the operation, but the follow-up therapy as well. Surgeons, when selecting their patients, also have to keep the oncologist’s treatment in mind.”

She said that in many cases the older patients who underwent surgery experienced a profound improvement in the quality of their life.

“The main thing is, don’t discount the idea of surgery just because you’re older,” she said. “People generally are more fit today than they once were, and that allows more people to benefit from surgery.”

For those who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, the idea of undergoing surgery may be daunting, not only for its physical rigors but also because of the expense, but in many cases the asbestos companies will provide payment for the treatment that you need. If your disease was caused by exposure to asbestos that an employer or asbestos company could have prevented, contact the attorneys at Danziger & De Llano today. We will look at the details of your particular situation and let you know what your rights are and how we can help.

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an experienced blog writer, editor, and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of expertise include health, medical research, and law.

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