Researchers in Italy have found that mesothelioma patients may take greater control of their often debilitating symptoms, if they were offered palliative care earlier.
The type of care offered to a mesothelioma patient in the UK depends on a number of issues:
- How advanced the mesothelioma is at the time of diagnosis;
- How well the patient is;
- They type of mesothelioma.
Those whose mesothelioma is diagnosed early may opt for surgery along with chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy. These treatments may slow down the progression of mesothelioma, in turn, reducing symptoms. It is usually not until the mesothelioma is very advanced that patients are placed on palliative care treatments.
Palliative care for mesothelioma focuses on controlling symptoms, namely pain management, fatigue, loss of appetite and for pleural mesothelioma, controlling the build up of fluid around the lung known as a pleural effusion.
Research carried out in Italy has suggested that mesothelioma patients should be offered palliative treatment earlier on. This would not only improve their quality of life, allowing them to enjoy more time with friends and family, but could also extend their life.
Lead investigator in the study, Sebastino Mercadante from the La Maddalena Cancer Centre in Palermo said; “Patients were referred to palliative care late in the course of their disease, suggesting that earlier integration of palliative care should be considered to relieve suffering in all disease stages – not only at the end of life”.
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Source: Mercadante, S, et al, “Symptoms burden in mesothelioma patients admitted to home palliative care,” August 17, 2016, Current Medical Research and Opinions.