Palliative Care Study May Benefit Mesothelioma Patients

Palliative care has long been known to offer significant benefits to patients suffering from malignant mesothelioma, as well as other advanced cancers. But to date, little has been known about the effectiveness of palliative care delivered virtually rather than in person. Now, a study conducted by Joseph A. Greer, PhD, of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, makes clear that early palliative care delivered via video was just as effective as in-person visits on quality of life measures.


Quality of Life Benefits of Palliative Care for Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma patients derive significant relief from palliative care, which addresses side effects and symptoms and improves the patient’s quality of life. It is traditionally offered during hospice care for end-stage patients but can be offered at any point during the treatment of advanced cancers. 

The Massachusetts General Hospital study followed 1,250 patients with advanced lung cancer rather than mesothelioma, as well as 548 of their caregivers between June 2018 and May 2023: Its findings on patient and caregiver-reported satisfaction with care and patient-reported anxiety and depression symptoms can be applied to the rare, asbestos-related disease.  According to Dr. Greer, “The main takeaway is that palliative care led to equivalent benefits for patient-reported quality of life whether delivered via video or in-person visits.”

Telehealth Delivery Increases Access to Palliative Care for Mesothelioma Patients

Malignant mesothelioma is notoriously challenging to treat, and the high-quality care delivered by major academic medical centers may not be readily available to patients who live in areas at great distances from major metropolitan areas.  The ability to access this important aspect of care virtually can make a significant difference for patients struggling with the disease.  Notably, it was the COVID-19 pandemic that brought virtual palliative care into greater use.

Dr. Greer hopes that the finding will guide policymakers on reimbursement for virtual care visits for advanced cancers like mesothelioma. He notes that video visits can minimize travel and cost for patients, as well as lowering the risk of infection among a population that is already weakened and potentially immune-compromised from chemotherapy treatments.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, access to care is critical. The Patient Advocates at are here to 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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