Study Shows Older Mesothelioma Patients Less Likely To Have Chemotherapy

Research conducted by the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute in Sydney, Australia is calling into question whether old mesothelioma patients are being treated with the same attention as is true of their younger counterparts. The study showed that among more than 900 mesothelioma patients, the older a patient was at the time of diagnosis, the lower the chances that they would be treated using the most popular cancer protocol.

Chemotherapy using Alimta is the gold standard of mesothelioma treatments

There are a number of innovative treatments being explored in the treatment of malignant mesothelioma, but the standard protocol remains a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Studies have shown a significant increase in survival time for mesothelioma patients who are treated using Alimta and cisplatin together.

Despite the easy availability of this mesothelioma treatment, the Australian study shows that as patients’ diagnosis age advances, the chances that they are treated using chemotherapy diminishes, and so too does their survival time.

Median survival time impacted by chemotherapy

The statistics that were collected among the 910 mesothelioma patients in the study were stark: the number of patients diagnosed when they were younger than 70 and when they were between the ages of 70 and 80 was roughly the same at forty-one percent and forty percent respectively, with the rest of patients being over 80 years old. But while 66 percent of those in the under 70 group were given chemotherapy, the group between the age of 70 and 80 saw just 35 percent treated with the potent drug. The survival difference between the two groups was just as significant, with the under-70 group surviving a median of 13.5 months and the group between 70 and 80 having a median survival of only 9.5 months.

In the under 70 group, the 34 percent that did not receive chemotherapy had a median survival of just 7 months compared to 16.8 months for those who did. Similarly, the 70-to-80 year olds who did not get chemotherapy had a median survival of 5.8 months, while those who did have the treatment had a median survival of 13.9 months. The study did not provide a reason for the disparity in administration of the treatment.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is important that you have a good understanding of the advantages of each of the treatments available to you, no matter what your age. For more information on your options, contact us 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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