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Study Indicates that Standardized Mesothelioma Treatment In The UK Is Needed

In the United States there is a generally accepted multimodality treatment approach that is generally used for the treatment of mesothelioma, a rare and always fatal form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. Though there are variations in the protocol selected based upon the experience and preferences of an individual physician, as well as the expressed desires of the patient and their family members, in most cases patients are initially seen by their general practitioner and, once a diagnosis is made, their care is assumed by an oncologist, who often works as part of a multispecialty team.

The same is not true in the United Kingdom, and a recent study points to the lack of standardization as being part of the nation’s shorter survival rates, as well as the overall underreporting of the incidence of the disease. Researchers from the Royal Derby Hospital in London, led by Dr. Paul Beckett of the department of respiratory medicine, analyzed the records of nearly 9,000 mesothelioma patients that had been treated in England and Wales over a five-year period, and determined that in the face of a rising incidence of mesothelioma, there is a need for better and more uniform management.

In an interview, Beckett said, “We recognize a nihilism in the management of mesothelioma here. Our hope is that by highlighting good practice, we can encourage organizations to be more aggressive in their investigation and treatment of patients.” To illustrate the depth of the problem, he points to one of the study’s findings, which showed that only two thirds of the study’s subjects who had been diagnosed with the disease actually received anti-cancer treatment. “Although our study was not designed to determine whether care is better in larger and more specialized [centers], we can see that in a lot of them there are not enough cases to build up the sort of experience and expertise that is needed to manage this complex disease. There is room for improvement.”

The researchers point to the fact that there are currently no guidelines for managing mesothelioma in the UK, as well as the belief on the part of many physicians that the disease is incurable, as reason for the diverse standard of care.

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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