Mesothelioma is an aggressive and deadly form of cancer. While patients suffering from this disease often face a grim prognosis, they must also make some tough choices regarding their treatment options. It’s sometimes difficult to weigh a treatment’s potential effectiveness against its likely impact on quality of life.
Two recent studies have provided additional insight into the value of taking a customized, preventative approach to mesothelioma treatments and how treatment choice may affect a patient’s quality of life.
New approach recommended for mesothelioma prevention and therapy
Research recently published by the University of Hawai’i Cancer Center in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology found that patients with mesothelioma caused by inherited genetic mutations, such as BAP1, require a different medical approach versus those with other types of mesothelioma that are not linked to genetic mutations, such as cases caused by asbestos exposure.
According to researchers, early detection and a personalized, therapeutic approach may improve cancer prognosis for many years and could also save lives. The results of this study will help physicians better care for mesothelioma patients and family members who are concerned they may have inherited the defective BAP1 gene.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has also recently begun two separate clinical trials in Bethesda, MD, both of which are aimed at improving therapy and identifying optimal strategies for early cancer detection among patients with germline mutations of BAP1 and other genes.
Japanese study examines quality of life for mesothelioma patients
One critical decision that mesothelioma patients often need to make is whether to opt for extrapleural pneumonectomy, an aggressive procedure that removes the entire lung and additional affected tissue, or to choose pleurectomy and decortication (P/D). This less aggressive procedure leaves the lungs intact while removing the tumor and other affected tissue.
Despite P/D resulting in a significant loss of breathing capability and other physical function, a study out of Japan found that patients who chose this option experienced an improvement in their quality of life and their mental health.
Researchers from Hyogo College of Medicine conducted this quality-of-life survey by interviewing and testing 45 patients at multiple intervals before and after their P/D surgery. The surprising results found that despite post-surgery decreases in physical functionality (from 78 to 65) and ability to perform physical tasks (69 to 41), patients also experienced a significant decrease in pain (74 to 52) and an increase in mental health scores (58 to 70).
This indicates that while critical, the ability to breathe does not play as significant of a role as expected when it comes to a mesothelioma patient's sense of wellbeing. This suggests that on their own, pulmonary function tests are limited in their ability to assess a patient’s quality of life.
Evaluating Your Treatment Options
While there are many important variables to consider as you weigh your mesothelioma treatment options, the potential cost of your medical care should not be a limiting factor. If you believe your cancer was caused by asbestos exposure, you may be entitled to compensation that can help offset the cost of your medical treatment, lost wages, and more.
Many patients have successfully pursued mesothelioma lawsuits, freeing them from the added stress of worrying about how to cover the costs of necessary treatment. Finding a qualified and experienced mesothelioma lawyer is a critical first step in ensuring your legal rights are protected.
The law firm of Cooney & Conway has been a national leader in asbestos and mesothelioma litigation for decades. To learn more about whether you may qualify to file a mesothelioma lawsuit, contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.