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Study Shows Early Palliative Care Doesn’t Help Mesothelioma Patients

When a patient is diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, one of the first decisions that need to be made is whether they want to pursue an aggressive approach with an eye to prolonging life and achieving a short-term cure, or a palliative approach that is meant only to improve their quality of life through pain relief measures and coping mechanisms. The answer to this question is usually based on how far advanced their disease is, as well as their overall health. But in treating the cancers, physicians have found that offering palliative care early can provide extended survival, so a group of researchers set out to determine whether the same was true for those diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. Now the results of that study have been released, and the scientists involved have come to the conclusion that offering palliative care does nothing to extend mesothelioma patient survival in the United States.

Though these results may initially seem like bad news for mesothelioma patients, according to Fraser Brims, MD, of the Curtin University in Perth, Australia, the reason for the lack of difference stems from the high level of care provided in the United States. “At first I was disappointed with the results,” he said. “Then I got to thinking and I suspect that the current provision of care was already excellent.” He feels that the lack of difference made by the palliative care in patients’ quality of life reflects the fact that the patients involved in the study had already been seen by an extensive array of medical staff, including oncologists, thoracic nurses, and more. Though palliative care may have served patients without that level of care having been administered, for the group involved in the study the care that had already been received had addressed those issues as part of the overall treatment protocol.

Among the points made in reviewing the information was the high importance of practical nurses for patients diagnosed with mesothelioma.  The study found that the care that they administered was the equivalent of specialist palliative care that was needed in other countries.

In the United States, patients diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma are offered a higher level of care than that found in many other countries around the world. They also have access to numerous other important resources. If you or someone you love needs information on the assistance available to you, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today. We can be reached at  1-800-692-8608.

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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