03 June 2015
Does Location Affect Treatment of Mesothelioma in England?
A report by the National Lung Cancer Audit has revealed that location is to be accounted for in the survival rates of Mesothelioma patients in England.
Studying the data of 8,740 people diagnosed with Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma between 2008 and 2012. It is believed to be the largest case series published from anywhere in the world. Positives, as outlined by Mick Peake, Chairman of Mesothelioma UK, included the revelation that 94% of cases were confirmed by biopsies and discussed by a team of multi-disciplinary specialists – something that would not have happened over a decade ago.
Of particular note in the study’s findings were the different ways Mesothelioma patients were treated in varying hospitals across England. The differences affected the outcomes of Mesothelioma. For example, the performance status of treatment and cancer stage – or how far Mesothelioma has spread, affecting the impact on the approach to treatment and survival – were not recorded the same.
In 81% of cases, the performance status, reflecting the patient’s overall health was recorded, but the cancer stage was not, with the report revealing data was “poorly recorded and unreliable.” 87% of all Mesothelioma patients studied received a definitive diagnosis based on advanced histo-cytological test results. Only 67% of patients received anti-cancer treatment. The study also revealed trends in treatment, with the use of chemotherapy increasing in correlation to a decline in surgery.
One of the study’s authors, Dr Beckett, of the Royal College of Physicians in London, said, “There is a significant variation in care patterns and outcomes that may reflect limited expertise in areas with low incidence (of mesothelioma).”
Mr Peake commented, “Mesothelioma remains an uncommon cancer in many areas of the country. More needs to be done to ensure that every patient is fully assessed by an experienced and dedicated team of specialist clinicians. Not only is the standard of care likely to be better in teams dealing with Mesothelioma on a regular basis, but patients will be more likely to be offered entry into clinical trials of new treatments that are so desperately needed if we are to make further inroads into treating this dreadful disease.”
Slater and Gordon Industrial Disease Lawyer, Dominic Smith said, “We need to end this postcode lottery and ensure that there is a universally agreed best practice for all mesothelioma patients.”
England and Wales have one of the highest rates of Mesothelioma in the world. Mesothelioma is a lung disease caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos was banned in the UK in 1999 because it was classified as a human carcinogen. It was used for its natural properties for insulation, prevalent in commercial buildings, houses and trains since the 1950s. For more information on asbestos you may like to read our blog asbestos FAQs.
If you or a family has suffered from an Asbestos-related cancer or disease call the expert Personal Injury Solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers on 0800 844 0275 or contact us online.