Palliative Care Study Has Valuable Lessons for Mesothelioma Patients

Palliative care has been proven extremely effective in the treatment of cancer patients of all types, including those diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. According to a new study, over the last several years the time between diagnosis and first use has decreased. That has resulted in lowered costs and improved survival in those who have utilized this valuable service.

Investigation of Specialized Palliative Care Use Informs Mesothelioma Treatment

Patients diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma are given a grim prognosis, and this is especially true for those who also have other health problems. Researcher Young-Rock Hong, PhD, MPH, of the University of Florida in Gainesville set out to determine how quickly specialty palliative care has been offered and utilized by patients diagnosed with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and what benefits the approach provided. What his team learned will prove helpful for patients diagnosed with terminal cancers of all types. 

Though there are significant physiologic differences between metastatic non-small cell lung cancer and mesothelioma, but palliative care provides symptom relief, pain management, and relief from psychosocial distress regardless of diagnosis or prognosis. For that reason the information gathered by the researchers is helpful for all patients.

70,000 Cancer Patient Records Included in Study

To determine how specialized palliative care is being used, the group analyzed records from 70,000 Medicare beneficiaries who were treated for metastatic non-small cell lung cancer between 2001 and 2015. They found that over the 15-year period the time between diagnosis and first use of the protocol dropped by 40% to approximately eight weeks. The team also found that when patients were provided the treatment, their overall healthcare costs were lower and their survival time improved. Unfortunately, the team also found that patients in rural areas and southern states were less likely to receive specialized palliative care in as timely a manner, and this is often true of the specialized medical treatment needed by mesothelioma patients as well. 

If you or someone you love has mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease and needs information on treatment, contact the Patient Advocates at 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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