Though malignant mesothelioma is more commonly diagnosed in men, women who have been exposed to asbestos are also at risk for the disease, and are frequently diagnosed and treated for the condition. Now a study conducted by Australian researchers has looked at both the disparity in rate of diagnosis and the difference in survival among those who have the disease, and have found that, overall, women with the asbestos-related disease are able to live for longer periods of time after their diagnosis.
The study conducted by scientists from the Cancer Epidemiology and Intelligence Division of Cancer Council Victoria in Melbourne looked at both mesothelioma patients and patients diagnosed with two dozen other types of cancer. Their research pool consisted of patients who received acre between the years 1982 and 2015, and was focused on learning whether differences existed, and if so why. They analyzed the survival times for each type of cancer for both men and women, making adjustments to account for differentials such as age at diagnosis and what year the diagnoses were made. The resulting study was published in the journal Cancer Causes & Control, and pointed out some stark and notable differences that bear further investigation.
The research showed that for all types of cancers analyzed, men had a shorter five-year net survival rate than women did, and that in cases of malignant pleural mesothelioma and malignant peritoneal mesothelioma, men had what they termed a “survival disadvantage.” This means that not only are women less likely to be diagnosed with mesothelioma, but also that the existing treatment protocols available for the rare and deadly form of cancer provide them with better overall outcomes in terms of how long they survive after diagnosis. Confirming this provides researchers with a compelling line of inquiry: if they are able to determine why women respond better to treatment, they may be able to provide more effective care for all patients. Nina Afshar, an epidemiological researcher and author on the study said, “Identifying the underlying reasons behind sex differences in cancer survival is necessary to address inequalities, which may improve outcomes for men and women.”
Whether you are a man or a woman, if you have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma then you need access to the best, most current research, and we are here to help. Contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.