Malignant mesothelioma is challenging enough without the added complications created by the global pandemic. Though experts had worried that patients would delay doctor’s visits during shutdowns, an Italian study has shown that diagnosis statistics mirrored those of previous years.
Researchers Evaluate Impact of COVID-19 Restrictions on Mesothelioma
From the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, mesothelioma physicians were concerned that the decline in screenings seen in other types of cancers would also delay the diagnosis of the deadly asbestos-related disease. Around the world, diagnosis of breast cancer, bladder cancer, colorectal cancer and prostate cancer dropped precipitously because people were afraid to leave their homes, even for routine screenings or when symptoms began to appear.
This dynamic had researchers and advocates extremely concerned, especially where fast-moving cancers like mesothelioma were concerned. The more aggressive a cancer is, the more important quick diagnosis becomes. But an Italian study has demonstrated that patients at risk for mesothelioma continued seeking care, despite shutdowns and fear of the virus.
Diagnostic Statistics for Mesothelioma Mirror Previous Years
Researchers from the Reggio Emilia Cancer Registry set out to evaluate the impact of COVID restrictions on new diagnoses of malignant mesothelioma in Italy. They collected data from twelve of the 21 Italian regional operating centers dedicated to the disease and compared the number of incident cases in 2020 against those in 2019, breaking the statistics into four periods: pre-pandemic (January-February), first wave (March-May), low incidence (June-September), and second wave (October-December).
Of 604 malignant mesothelioma cases registered during the study period, 307 were found in 2019 and 297 in 2020. During the pre-pandemic period the incidence in 2020 was higher than during the same months in 2019, and there was no significant change during the first wave or the low-incidence period. A decrease was identified during the second wave but the statistics varied across the regions included, and differences were determined to be random rather than based on the pandemic. The researchers concluded that the pandemic had little or no impact on new malignant mesothelioma diagnoses.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with or is at risk for malignant mesothelioma, you know how important early diagnosis and treatment can be. For information and access to resources, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.FREE Mesothelioma Packet