Study Shows Risk of Death from Mesothelioma Varies by Type
A new study shows that the risk of death from mesothelioma varies by type. In the cohort mortality study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the research team reported that they used an exposure index to evaluate individual cumulative exposure as a proxy of asbestos dose and evaluated the change in cancer mortality patterns following an extended period from the end of exposure. Standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) were calculated for “several causes of death stratified by latency, cumulative exposure, and time since last exposure (TSLE),” the team wrote.
“We observed a peak and then a decrease in SMR for lung, pleural, and peritoneal cancer.” For cumulative exposure, the researchers “observed a peak and then a decrease in SMR for lung and pleural cancer, but not for peritoneal cancer.” TSLE pleural cancer SMR “peaked at 20 to 29 years, then decreased,” while “peritoneal cancer SMR reached a plateau after 20 years and lung cancer mortality was in excess in each class.”
The research team concluded that they discovered different patterns in mortality in the main asbestos-related tumors.
Early Mesothelioma Diagnosis and Outcomes
While there is no cure for mesothelioma, the disease can be treated—especially if it’s caught early. The American Cancer Society (ACS) reports that the disease is easiest to treat and has the best outcomes if it's found early—when it's small and hasn't spread. However, says the ACS, in many cases the disease is not diagnosed “until it’s big enough to cause problems and a person goes to a doctor for help.” The good news is—things are changing.
Researchers are currently studying early detection tests that could help find mesothelioma earlier and in its most treatable stages. While numerous early detection tests are currently in varying stages of development, several of the most promising tests include:
- MESOMARK, the world’s first serum-based biomarker sensitive for mesothelioma
- SOMAmer (Slow Off-rate Modified Aptamer (SOMAmer) proteomic test), which measures a panel of 13 biomarkers to detect mesothelioma
- Fibulin-3 Test, which can detect mesothelioma early and the progression of mesothelioma
- Human MPF Elisa Kit, which measures megakaryocyte potentiating factor (MPF)—a protein encoded in the mesothelin (MSLN) gene
In addition to early detection, the ACS says survival rates for mesothelioma patients are grouped based on age, overall health, how resectable the cancer is, and how well the cancer responds to treatment. Other factors can also affect the patient’s outlook.
Thanks to early detection and treatments that have improved dramatically over time, people now being diagnosed with mesothelioma may have a better outlook than current figures show, reports the ACS. Current survival rates “are based on people who were diagnosed and treated at least five years earlier.” A lot has changed since then.
If you have been exposed to asbestos, don’t hesitate. Even if you have no symptoms, see your doctor right away. Your doctor can refer you to a mesothelioma specialist who will evaluate your history, administer tests, and establish a lifelong monitoring plan. This will give your doctors the best opportunity to catch the disease early. See your doctor to assess your risk today.
Cuccaro, Francesco MD, Anna Maria Nannavecchia and Stefano Silvestri. “Mortality for Mesothelioma and Lung Cancer in a Cohort of Asbestos Cement Workers in BARI (Italy): Time Related Aspects of Exposure.” JOEM. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, May 2019. Web. 05 Jul. 2019.
“Survival Rates for Mesothelioma.” Cancer.org. American Cancer Society, Inc., 2019. Web. 05 Jul. 2019
“What’s New in Malignant Mesothelioma Research?” Cancer.org. American Cancer Society, Inc., 2019. Web. 05 Jul. 2019.