Study Examines Need for Additional Specialized Palliative Care for Mesothelioma Patients

A study conducted by researchers at Australia’s Curtin University has found that when it comes to treating patients diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, early specialist palliative care provides no meaningful improvement in quality of life. Australian caregivers and scientists are particularly attuned to the needs of mesothelioma patients as, along with the United Kingdom, the nation leads the world in the rate of diagnoses of the rare and fatal form of cancer.

Researchers Examine Specific Needs of Mesothelioma Patients

Australia’s high rate of malignant mesothelioma comes from the country’s heavy use of the material throughout the twentieth century, as well as the mining activities that occurred within its own borders. As a result of the continuing number of cases being diagnosed, researchers are particularly attuned to finding the most effective methods of providing care for victims of this asbestos-related disease, and palliative care is an important aspect of treatment. According to the study, which was published in a recent edition of the journal Thorax, the benefits that are offered through palliative treatment are comprehensive and holistic, addressing the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of care. The researchers set out to determine whether providing a more robust and specialized version of palliative care provided a boost to either mood or quality of life for mesothelioma patients or their caregivers when compared to the standard care provided to all patients diagnosed with a terminal disease.

Study Finds Little Benefit to Specialized Palliative Care for Most

In assessing the study’s findings, co-author Professor Fraser Brims of the Curtin Medical School explained, “Previous research has shown that patients diagnosed with other types of cancer may benefit from early specialist palliative care, in conjunction with other relevant treatments, but our research aimed to examine if this was also the case for patients with mesothelioma. We found that the current level of standard care in Australia and the UK is adequately meeting the needs of patients early after the diagnosis of mesothelioma and specialist palliative care was only required on a case-by-case basis.” His co-author,  Professor Anoop Chauhan from Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, added, “Our findings may help health professionals, carers and family members to further understand the role of early specialist palliative care when treating mesothelioma and to recognize when it is required and when it is not. Further research is needed to explore which patients and when in their disease trajectory, will most benefit from early specialist palliative care, but it should continue to play a key role in the treatment plan when patients’ pain, symptoms, and psychological care are no longer met by standard care alone.”

Palliative care remains an important part of the most robust and helpful treatment for mesothelioma patients. If you would like to discuss the best options available for treatment, as well as other resources available to you, 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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