A recent study conducted by researchers at St. Luke’s International University in Japan presents a good news/bad news dichotomy for those diagnosed by mesothelioma, as well as for those providing their treatment. The good news is that more and more patients are living longer after being diagnosed with the rare and fatal form of cancer – with some living more than five years after treatment. The bad news is that for those who are achieving this remarkable level of longevity, their quality of life is reported to be “very unfavorable” in terms of being free from physical pain, as well as for other chronic problems.
The study involved 133 mesothelioma patients who had survived a minimum of five years past the end of their treatment protocols. Each was sent a 64-question survey about their quality of life. According to lead investigator Yasuko Nagamatsu, “The QLQ assessments demonstrated that the survivors of malignant pleural mesothelioma most frequently complained of fatigue, pain, sleep disturbances, and dyspnea.” The group concluded that, “Survivors of malignant pleural mesothelioma, even those in good physical condition, need broad support.” Shortcomings that the researchers found largely revolved around impaired function, and the investigators concluded that more needed to be done to provide patients with appropriate support after traditional treatment protocols had accomplished their goal. These supports might include follow up with nurses and occupational therapists, pain management professionals, physical therapy and exercise programming, as well as psychological and emotional support to address the impact that both treatment and life after a terminal diagnosis present.
It is well established that cancer patients of all types often struggle with depression and anxiety both during their treatment and after their protocols have completed, but there have been so few cases of mesothelioma patients surviving long after treatment that few such studies exist on the long-term impacts that they face. Though it is encouraging to hear that medical technology has made such remarkable strides, there is much that still needs to be learned to provide patients with the best possible outcomes.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma and you need information on your rights of the resources available to you, contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.