From the blog

Patients with Mesothelioma Don’t Always Have Access to the Best Care

Published: October 8, 2021

Unfortunately, there is a lack of equality when it comes to treating mesothelioma patients because access to care can be very inconsistent. Patients might not have access to a high-volume academic hospital that treats mesothelioma patients, so they are not receiving the proper care that some people might receive. Patients with mesothelioma from different areas and socioeconomic backgrounds were studied, and the findings were presented at the 2021 World Conference on Lung Cancer. The researcher found that there is not enough good care for a large portion of people.

The study occurred at the University of Miami and involved 2,804 patients with stage I-III disease from the National Cancer Database, between the years 2004 and 2017. The researcher wanted to see how access to treatment affected the survival outcome of patients. Fifty percent of the patients underwent surgery, with most of them being white (83.1 percent) and male (70 percent). Of the patients who had surgery, only 1.6 percent of them were from a rural area. The majority of patients had private insurance or Medicare, 47.7 percent and 44.6 percent respectively, while 2.3 percent of the patients had no insurance and 3.4 percent were on Medicaid. The largest predictor of a poor outcome was being male, being older, and lacking access to care. Most of the surgeries were in urban areas at high volume academic centers. The longest survival was in patients who had surgery and adjuvant chemotherapy or surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.

A study published in the Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery found that the median survival is two times longer for patients treated at an academic facility versus a community facility.  The study also found that less than 50 percent of patients struggling with mesothelioma are treated at academic facilities. This shows that experience is very important when choosing a hospital after being diagnosed with mesothelioma. The Sylvester Cancer Center is one such facility that has a good treatment program for mesothelioma. It will be holding a virtual symposium on mesothelioma on November 6 and will have participants from around the world.

There was not a linear relationship with survival and income. Patients who are in the middle income bracket had a 17 percent lower mortality risk versus patients in the highest bracket. The highest and lowest income brackets actually had very similar mortality rates, so a major factor could be location as well as income. Telemedicine could help bridge the gap for patients in rural areas who do not have access to good care. It could increase the amount of people receiving good care, which could then improve the survival in patients for all locations and economic backgrounds.

Estelamari Rodriguez, “Socioeconomic Disparities in Access to Treatment and Survival in Operable Malignant Pleural Meosothelioma in the United States” 2021 World Conference on Lung Cancer. [Link]
“Patients with Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma Face Barriers to Treatment Access” IASLC (September 12, 2021). [Link]
Contact Us
Have you received a diagnosis? *