U.S. Study Shows Mesothelioma Diagnosis Rates Hold Steady Despite Predictions

A recent study by U.S. researchers has found that despite projections, pleural mesothelioma diagnosis rates would decline early this century, the data analyzed over a 10-year period suggests that diagnosis rates have remained steady. Fortunately, the data looked at also suggests that survival rates of pleural mesothelioma patients have improved and those with this form of the cancer are living longer lives than those in previous generations.

Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. The disease commonly affects the thin linings of tissue surrounding vital organs such as the heart, lungs, and abdominal cavity. Mesothelioma cancers which affect the lungs are known as pleural mesothelioma, as they affect the pleural linings of the lungs.

In their study, researchers at the Taussig Cancer Center at the Cleveland Clinic looked at data from almost 21,000 pleural mesothelioma from 2004 to 2014 provided to them by the National Cancer Database. Some of the main focus of the study looked into the incidence rates, types of treatment available, and survival rates of pleural mesothelioma patients across diverse demographics of gender, age, income, and medical history.

The Cleveland Clinic researchers found that during the 10 year period analyzed, pleural mesothelioma diagnosis rates essentially held steady, with a slight increase from the first year to the last. Further, diagnosis rates between genders remained the same at 20% female compared to 80% male. Another bright spot in the study showed that now, more than half of the pleural mesothelioma patients are receiving treatment, compared to just over a third from previous data.

Further good news was found in the survival rates of those studied. The researchers found that the average one year survival rate increased a full 10 percentage points from 37% to 47%, and the three-year survival rate also increased from 9% to 15%. Researchers attributed this increased survival rate to improvements in diagnosis and treatment capabilities.

Other factors the researchers believe may be contributing to increased survival rates include younger age, female sex, epithelioid histology, treatment in an academic center, health insurance, higher income, and multimodal therapy. Multimodal therapy in particular combines multiple treatment options to attack mesothelioma cancer, which can include surgery, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy.

New mesothelioma cases had been expected to decline around the turn of the century, due to strict limitations on use of asbestos, which is directly linked to developing the cancer, coupled with the long latency period between exposure and making a diagnosis. While the data from this study indicates we are not there yet, there remains hope that exposure can be eliminated and treatment breakthroughs made to help patients live longer and healthier lives.

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If you or a loved one was diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment.




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