Miami Study Finds Variability in Income Levels and Survival in Mesothelioma Patients

In assessing potential risk factors and outcomes for patients diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, there have long been questions about whether a patient’s socioeconomic status plays a role in their access to quality care. A study conducted by researchers from the University of Miami’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center examined the issue and found significant variability.

No Linear Relationship Between Income and Survival in Mesothelioma Patients

The mesothelioma study, which was presented at this IASLC 2021 World Conference on Lung Cancer, examined outcomes for 2,804 patients diagnosed with and treated for stage I to stage III malignant pleural mesothelioma between 2004 and 2017. Researchers examined access to care, administration of multimodality treatment, and income levels with patient survival. Led by Assistant Professor Dr. Estelamari Rodriguez, the group set out to clarify whether disparities in either access to care or a patient’s socioeconomic status play a role in eventual outcomes for the disease.

The vast majority of the mesothelioma patients included in the study were men (70%) with stage I-II disease (86.7%) and white (83.1%). Those whose treatment included surgery were found to have traveled a median distance of approximately two more miles than those who hadn’t. The highest survival rate was found in patients in the third quartile of income ($50,354-$63,332), who had a 17% reduction of overall mortality risk compared with those in the highest income group. The two lowest income quartiles demonstrated no significant survival effect.

Access to Care is Key to Mesothelioma Survival

Though the researchers found disparities in distance to the facility, facility type, and volume of mesothelioma patients treated, they found that receiving either chemotherapy or a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy was a more reliable predictor of patient outcomes, regardless of their race, socioeconomic status, or tumor characteristics. Speaking of their findings, Dr. Rodriguez said, “Understanding social determinants of health and addressing disparities in access to surgery and multimodality therapy can help ensure equity of care for patients with MPM.”

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and you need access to care, the Patient Advocates at can help. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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