Women diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma are known to experience significantly longer overall survival times than their male counterparts. Yet a recent study revealed that once diagnosed with the rare and fatal form of cancer, women are far less likely to receive surgery or chemotherapy than male patients.
Female Mesothelioma Patients Are Diagnosed When They Are Younger and Healthier
Malignant mesothelioma is a disease that overwhelmingly affects men. There are many reasons for this, but most are attributed to their higher likelihood of exposure to asbestos in traditionally male occupations. A study aimed at understanding the survival and treatment disparities between male mesothelioma patients and female mesothelioma patients revealed confounding information that has led researchers to encourage further analysis.
The mesothelioma study, which was published in JNCCN, the Official Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, was based on data from the National Cancer Database (NCDB) and included records of 18,799 patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma treated between 2004 and 2013. Of those, 78% were male and 22$ were female. Females were found to have presented with mesothelioma symptoms at a younger age and with fewer comorbidities.
Favorable Characteristics Not Linked to Aggressive Mesothelioma Treatment
Despite their favorable health characteristics making female mesothelioma patients excellent candidates for chemotherapy, surgery and other aggressive treatments, the study revealed that women were less likely to receive those protocols than men.
Interestingly, despite the lack of aggressive mesothelioma treatment, female patients experienced a better overall survival rate across all diagnosed stages of the disease. This held true regardless of other complicating factors, including histological differences. The researchers suggest that with a reduction of disparities in treatment, even greater survival could be experienced by female patients.
Whether you are a man or a woman, if you’ve been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma you need answers and access to the best possible medical treatment. For information on how to access those resources, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.