Study: Nearly 30 percent of mesothelioma cases are untreated

A recent study says that close to a third of malignant mesothelioma victims do not receive treatment.

Mesothelioma is a devastating disease, but treatment for it has been improving steadily in recent decades. Those treatment options can extend a mesothelioma sufferer's life substantially, but a recent study by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) says that between 20 and 30 percent of patients with malignant mesothelioma receive no cancer treatment, according to Asbestos.com. The study found important differences in how older patients and patients diagnosed with the pleural type of mesothelioma were treated for their illnesses compared to younger patients and those with nonpleural mesothelioma.

Highlights of the study

The NCI study focused on both treatment patterns and survival rates for patients suffering from malignant mesothelioma in the United States. One of the most alarming figures from the study was the fact that 29.3 percent of patients with pleural mesothelioma do not get treatment for their disease. Furthermore, because pleural patients were more likely to be older, that meant that mesothelioma patients over 70 were overall less likely to receive treatment than patients under 70.

That lack of treatment had a big impact on overall survival rates. The study also found that the median survival rate for pleural patients was just eight months, compared to 18 months for those suffering from a nonpleural type of mesothelioma. The study also highlighted the fact that pleural patients who underwent surgery and chemotherapy had the highest chance of survival, which shows why treating victims of pleural mesothelioma is so important.

Findings concern researchers

The study did not go into the reasons why so many people suffering from malignant mesothelioma are not undergoing treatment for the disease. Many patients, particularly older patients, may choose to refuse treatment for personal reasons. However, that refusal, the researchers note, means that the lives of many mesothelioma victims could be ending far sooner than necessary.

As Mesothelioma Help notes, the study also found that less than five percent of pleural mesothelioma victims and less than two percent of nonpleural mesothelioma victims participate in clinical trials. That low participation rate is particularly concerning because researchers agree that such trials offer the best chance of discovering better treatment options for the disease.

Rights for mesothelioma victims

For those who are suffering from mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases, it is important to know that it may be possible to pursue compensation. While such compensation cannot undo the h arm that asbestos exposure has caused, it can at least offer some small sense of justice along with the ability to potentially pursue more effective treatment options. An attorney who specializes in asbestos-related claims can help mesothelioma suffers understand what compensation options may be available to them.