A study conducted by researchers at Australia’s University of Sydney has revealed that some physicians are so fatalistic about mesothelioma that they opt out of valuable treatment protocols. The study’s authors say that despite the fact that chemotherapy has proven to be one of the most effective methods of prolonging mesothelioma patient survival and improving quality of life, nihilism on the part of some doctors leads them to skip over the treatment that their patients most need.
Chemotherapy Works, but Some Physicians Don’t Order It
Chemotherapy uses specialized medications to kill mesothelioma cancer cells. Though the rare and fatal for of cancer is known to be both resistant to the treatment’s effects, it has been shown to be effective, providing numerous benefits for patients who have surgery and for those who don’t. Yet the Australian study shows that as many as twenty percent of patients diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma are not referred to oncologists who specialize in mesothelioma, or even have chemotherapeutic treatment recommended to them.
Doctor’s Attitudes are More Negative than That of Nurses
The study asked over one hundred doctors about their attitudes and decision making regarding mesothelioma patient treatment. Nineteen nurses were also asked to participate in the study, which revealed that by their own estimation, the large majority of doctors believe that ten percent of mesothelioma patients are not referred for chemotherapy. They blamed fatalistic attitudes on the part of physicians, while in some cases they attributed the problem to a shortage of specialists who understand the needs of mesothelioma patients – particularly in rural areas. By contrast, nurses blamed the problem on doctors procrastinating on patient diagnosis and a lack of knowledge about the options available to patients diagnosed with the rare disease.
Patients who have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma need their physicians onboard with their personal goals and wishes, and though that may mean avoiding chemotherapy treatment, it does not mean that patients should not be offered the option. If you are undergoing treatment for this rare and fatal form of cancer and you need more information, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.