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Study Shows Mesothelioma Therapies Are Often Ignored by Patients

Malignant mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of cancer that strikes those who have been exposed to asbestos. The diagnosis generally comes late in life, usually decades after the patient’s exposure has taken place, and often when they are entering the golden years spent in retirement.  The prognosis and life expectancy for a person diagnosed with mesothelioma varies depending upon a number of factors, including their age and overall health, the type of mesothelioma that they’ve been diagnosed with, and the degree to which the cancer has advanced. But a new study published in the journal Lung Cancer points to another variable that is highly determinative of outcome, and that is whether or not the patient chooses to receive cancer treatment. According to the study, “Patterns of care and survival among patients with malignant mesothelioma in the United States,” between twenty and thirty percent of America’s mesothelioma patients are not availing themselves of the many therapies and protocols that are available to them.

The National Cancer Institute researchers were able to access data collected from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database to examine the different choices that patients with mesothelioma are making, and the results indicate that more needs to be done to ensure that all patients are aware of the treatment options available to them and the benefits of pursuing those therapies. The study indicated that while those who have the most common form of the disease – pleural mesothelioma – tend to be largely older and male, they also have the best survival outcomes when they pursue surgery and chemotherapy. Yet that group has the largest percentage of patients who do not receive treatment, with 29.3 opting out. The patients with peritoneal mesothelioma tend to be younger and more likely to pursue surgery, and this is tied to a median survival that is ten months longer.

Of those who do pursue treatment, most get a combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Those with pleural mesothelioma are more likely to undergo radiation than those with peritoneal mesothelioma, while those with peritoneal mesothelioma are more likely to undergo surgery. This is likely due to the success that has been found with the combination of cytoreductive surgery and heated chemotherapy, which has yielded survival times of at least five years.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma it is important that you understand all of your options and get the best advice possible. The Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net are dedicated to ensuring that you have the information you need in all areas of your care. Contact us today 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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