Friday, May 29, 2015

UK study of mesothelioma patients in England, Wales finds variation in treatment and survival

A new study on survival of mesothelioma patients entitled "Demographics, management and survival of patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma in the National Lung Cancer Audit in England and Wales" has been published in the Lung Cancer journal.

It was quite a large study, with 8740 cases of mesothelioma from the UK National Lung Cancer Audit. That is quite a large sample size to draw the conclusions that they drew with a good confidence interval.

It details the difference in survival of a specific lung cancer(Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma) patients in England and Wales. Of the 8,740 mesothelioma patients studied, 87 percent received a definitive diagnosis based on advanced histo-cytological test results. Only 67 percent receive anti-cancer treatment. The types of treatments used tended to reflect the findings of the most recently published mesothelioma trials; use of chemotherapy appeared to be on the rise from year to year while use of radical surgery appeared to decline.

The overall median survival among all the mesothelioma patients studied was 9.5 months with a 1 year survival rate of 41.4% and a 3 year survival rate of 12%. Median survival had improved by about a month between patients treated in 2008 and those treated in 2012. As has been the case in previous mesothelioma studies, survival was closely linked to PS and histological subtype. However, there was a significant range in the median survival rates between various cancer centers – from 209 days to 349.

The BBC had just released news of probable exposure of 30,000 London Metropolitan Police Officers to asbestos, the causative agent for mesothelioma, during their firearms training since 1980.

Even though newer medications are being tried, like Defactinib and VS-5584, treatment of mesothelioma has poor survival and high costs. Workplace exposure to asbestos is the most common cause of mesothelioma and victims are eligible for compensation. A good mesothelioma lawyer with adequate documents can get enormous compensation for the victims of this cancer. The UK government has also made 2 schemes available for thos mesothelioma victims who do not have proof of workplace exposure or do not want to sue. The Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme was started in UK in 2014 and it is better than the older 2008 scheme.

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