As is true of people diagnosed with any type of cancer, mesothelioma patients need time and information to adjust to the reality of their illness. The word “cancer” always strikes fear, and this is especially true with a condition that carries the weight and limited future that mesothelioma does. Still, once the initial shock has passed most patients want to know what they can do to improve their own odds and outcomes, and to extend the time that they have left to them. Unfortunately, a study conducted at the University of Sydney in Australia has indicated that many physicians are not doing their best to provide their patients with options.
The researchers spoke with over one hundred doctors and an additional nineteen nurses to explore how they approach mesothelioma patients. What they learned is chilling to anybody diagnosed with the disease, as well as to those who love them. They found that many physicians have such a pessimistic attitude about mesothelioma that they don’t discuss all of the available treatment protocols with their patients. Rather than giving them the choice of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery or some combination of all three, doctors outside of major teaching hospitals are essentially telling their patients to go home and get their affairs in order. This is alarming, particularly because the use of chemotherapy has proven to be effective at prolonging both survival and improving quality of life.
In analyzing physician attitudes and actions towards mesothelioma patients, the Australian researchers found that one in five patients diagnosed with the disease were never referred for specialized cancer care, and did not receive chemotherapy treatment despite the fact that it can add months to patients’ lives. Nurses opined that physicians have fatalistic attitudes towards mesothelioma, and that there is a lack of understanding of available treatments in areas that do not see many patients.
If you have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, you have a right to the best care available as well as to seek justice against those responsible for your illness. For more information on both, contact us today at 1-800-966-2244