One of the first things that a patient diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma may consider is whether or not to participate in one of the many clinical trials being conducted by major research centers and teaching hospitals. These trials each have their own specific criteria for participation, and those who do choose to get involved do so with the knowledge that there are no guarantees about outcomes, but at the very least they will be expanding existing knowledge of the impact of different protocols, and may serve to advance knowledge and work towards a cure. A study conducted in the United Kingdom has revealed that those who have gone through the process have found both advantages and disadvantages.
Mesothelioma Patients Provide Valuable Feedback on MARS 2 Study
Though a good deal of the attention garnered by mesothelioma clinical trials focuses on their outcomes, less is given to the experience of the patients who have chosen to be involved. Researchers in the United Kingdom decided to survey those patients with pleural mesothelioma participating in the Mesothelioma and Radical Surgery (MARS 2) trial, some of whom had undergone surgery and chemotherapy and some who’d only had chemotherapy.
While the MARS 2 trial, set out to identify the clinical difference in mesothelioma survival between the two protocols, this secondary study had a goal of assessing the patient experience. It found a wide range of perspectives.
Interview With Mesothelioma Patients Conducted
The researchers conducted 41 total interviews with the mesothelioma patients who had been involved in the trials both while they were actively involved and at six- and twelve-month intervals after the trial was completed.
The patients reported that upsides to participation included the ability to have the treatment and surgery, but they also expressed challenges regarding the need for travel, with added confusion over new doctors and uncertainty about expected outcomes. Dr. Clare Warnock of Weston Park Hospital in Sheffield, England said, “Patients perceived and derived benefits from taking part in the trial but experienced some negative consequences.”
Choosing whether to participate in a mesothelioma clinical trial is a highly personal decision. If you would like information about involvement or other resources available to you, please contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.