Doctors at the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute and Sydney Medical School in Australia are claiming that based on their multi-national research, as many as 47% of mesothelioma patients who might benefit from chemotherapy treatment are not being given the option.
The doctors reached their conclusions by comparing data on mesothelioma patients and their tumor characteristics with evidence-based treatment recommendations. According to the research, 65% of patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma should be treated with chemotherapy at least once during the course of their disease. However, the multi-national study reports that no country reaches that optimal utilization level.
It is likely that many mesothelioma patients across the globe are being short-changed. The Netherlands reported only a 36% usage rate, while patients in Australia (where the study was performed) only received chemotherapy 54% of the time. The research team found the overall usage rate to be between 18% and 61%, and stated the reason for this disparity is likely multifactorial.
Chemotherapy is still the most widely used treatment for malignant mesothelioma. There are several chemotherapy drugs used in patients with mesothelioma, but doctors have reported the best success with a combination of the drugs Alimta and Cisplatin. So far, there is no cure for the disease, which is known to be caused almost exclusively by exposure to asbestos.
The use of chemotherapy can vary, depending on a number of factors. In cases where surgery can be performed, chemotherapy may be given prior to the surgery in order to shrink the tumor and lower the risk of spread. Chemotherapy can also be given after surgery to try to kill any cancer cells that may have been left behind. This may help delay or prevent the cancer from coming back.
In cases where surgery is not an option, chemotherapy may be used alone, or in combination with radiation therapy. The intent here is not to cure, but rather slow the progression of the disease.
Currently, several studies and clinical trials are being performed that test the use of new treatments in immunotherapy for cancers like mesothelioma. Immunotherapy uses the patient’s own immune system to fight the cancer and is known to have fewer and less severe side effects than chemotherapy. Doctors are hopeful that treatments like these will be the future of cancer care, extending survival times and increasing quality of life.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, contact Philadelphia asbestos lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler today. Our team of dedicated mesothelioma lawyers in Philadelphia will work tirelessly to ensure that you and your family receive the full compensation to which you are entitled. Our Center City Philadelphia law offices serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. For a free consultation, call 800-369-0899 or submit an online contact form.