From the blog

Impact on Survival When People Have a Second Cancer in Addition to Mesothelioma

Published: April 14, 2023

Researchers decided to look at the relationship between having mesothelioma in addition to a second cancer and their impact on survival. Researchers found that a second cancer did not affect survival for most patients with mesothelioma, but for patients with a specific type of mesothelioma, survival was affected. Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer that occurs in a membrane that surrounds different areas of the body called the mesothelium. The mesothelium surrounds the lungs, abdomen, heart, and testicles. Mesothelioma is mostly caused by asbestos, a class of minerals that are made up of millions of microscopic fibers that are easily released and then inhaled if disturbed.

While most cases of mesothelioma are caused by asbestos, different genetic mutations can also cause the cancer. People with mutations on the BAP1 gene are more likely to develop mesothelioma and other cancers. People with this mutation typically have a less aggressive form of mesothelioma but can have multiple cancers at once due to a family inherited mutation. Researchers looked at mesothelioma patients to see if they had other types of cancer in addition to mesothelioma. They also looked at the role of gender and asbestos exposure to see how they influence having multiple cancers at once.

The study used data from the Lombardy Mesothelioma Registry. The data from the registry involves information on people with mesothelioma that live in the Lombardy region of Italy. There were 6,668 people in the study who all had pleural mesothelioma. Around 15 percent of the mesothelioma patients also had another type of cancer. The most common second cancers were prostate, breast, and colon cancer. Based on the data, researchers determined that a second cancer in addition to mesothelioma is not a big factor in mesothelioma patient survival. They did discover that patients with non-epithelioid mesothelioma had a worse survival overall.

Research is crucial for improving survival in patients with mesothelioma and other cancers. Without research, people would not be living as long as they are today with mesothelioma and other cancers. Some cancers that were once deadly are now either curable or at the very least manageable with the right treatment options. If we continue to perform research on mesothelioma, there could one day be a cure for the disease. For now, doctors need to keep researching different ways to treat mesothelioma and need to utilize current treatments in different ways so maybe one day, a cure will be found for the devastating cancer.

Carolina Mensi et al., “Second Primary Cancers in a Population-Based Mesothelioma Registry” Cancers (2023 March). [Link]
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