Researchers Identify Disparities in Mesothelioma Treatment for Black and White Patients

Healthcare professionals are grappling with the reality that black patients receive markedly different treatment than do whites, and a recent study conducted by researchers at Mount Sinai Medical Center has confirmed that the problem includes victims of malignant mesothelioma. According to a report published in the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, there is a significant disparity in both the mortality rate and the interventions provided to black and white patients diagnosed with the rare asbestos-related disease.

Dying while black: Perpetual gaps exist in health care for African-Americans

Life Saving Mesothelioma Surgery Provided to White Patients More than Black Patients

According to data that included 2,550 patients, black mesothelioma victims have worse short-term mortality than white patients, yet despite this they are less likely to receive the extrapleural pneumonectomy surgery that extends more patients’ lives. Though this surgery is risker, far more aggressive, and more likely to lead to post-surgical complications than is true of the less aggressive surgery known as pleurectomy with decortication, it is also known to provide longer survival time.

The mesothelioma patient data that was used in the Mount Sinai research came from the National Cancer Institute. Of the 2,550 people included in the data, only 88 were black, and they had notably worse 30-to-90-day mortality rates than was true of white patients. Analyzing the treatments that these patients were provided, the researchers found that they were less likely to have undergone surgery of any type, and especially less likely to have undergone the more-aggressive-but-more-successful surgery.

Mesothelioma Research Echoes Other Studies on Racial Disparities

The findings of the mesothelioma researchers echoed a previous study conducted in 2015, which found that black patients diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cancers have worse survival rates than do whites, despite a much lower incidence. At the same time that scientists work towards providing better outcomes for all mesothelioma patients, our healthcare system needs to solve the very real issue of disparities in healthcare being provided to those in the black and Hispanic communities.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma or any asbestos-related disease, you need and deserve the best care available. 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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