If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, there are numerous decisions you must make about your treatment. Although discussions with your care team may revolve around what treatment methods are best for you, a recent study shows that where you get your care may be of equal importance. Patient outcomes from hospitals affiliated with academic institutions are historically better than those being treated at community hospitals.
Medical researchers at Brigham & Women’s Hospital examined 12 years of data comprising 2,682 patients with malignant peritoneal mesothelioma, which infects the lining of the abdomen. The patients were almost evenly divided between academic facilities, which treated 47.4 percent of the patients, and community facilities, which treated 52.6 percent of this group. Community facilities counted in the study included multiple types of community cancer programs, as well as integrated network cancer programs.
The study revealed a significant difference in the survival rates of patients at academic or research facilities versus community programs. The median survival rate for academic hospital patients was 24.8 months, compared with 11.6 months at community hospitals. The group treated at academic hospitals showed a one-year survival rate of 66.2 percent and a five-year survival rate of 29.7 percent; one-year and five-year survival rates for the community hospital group were 48.9 percent and 18.3 percent, respectively.
Treatment Differences between Facilities
Mesothelioma is a rare cancer, with approximately 2,500 to 3,000 patients diagnosed in the United States each year, and not every patient has the same form of the disease. Malignant peritoneal mesothelioma is much less common than pleural mesothelioma, accounting for less than 20 percent of mesothelioma diagnoses. Peritoneal mesothelioma has different symptoms and requires different treatment than pleural mesothelioma, but it is rare enough that the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) does not have a specific standard for treatment.
The difference in outcomes may have to do with the expertise of physicians treating an extremely rare disease. The NCCN estimates that it takes between 140 and 220 cases to achieve proficiency with a particular condition and treatment plan. Although not all academic facilities necessarily have such expertise, Brigham & Women’s Hospital does, thanks in large part to its affiliations with both Harvard Medical School and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Facilities such as Brigham & Women’s that have significant resources and specialists on staff may be better prepared to extend life expectancy for peritoneal mesothelioma patients.
The type of treatment available at different hospitals may also affect patient outcomes. Of the patients treated at community facilities, only 38.2 percent received surgical treatment, compared with 62.4 percent at academic facilities. At academic centers, 28.8 percent of patients who underwent surgery received hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), which is applied directly to the surgical site following the procedure and is considered the most effective treatment for eligible peritoneal mesothelioma patients; only 10.4 percent of patients at community hospitals received the same treatment.
Philadelphia Mesothelioma Lawyers at Shein Law Obtain Justice for Mesothelioma Patients
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, call the Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyers at Shein Law. Our knowledgeable, experienced legal team has successfully represented mesothelioma patients and their families in all types of asbestos exposure cases, and we are committed to getting you the compensation to which you are entitled so you can focus on your treatment and recovery. Call us at 877-743-4652 or contact us online to discuss your case. With offices in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.