If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, which is almost always connected to a past history of exposure to asbestos, fighting the disease head on can be a daunting prospect.
However, in this era, new treatments are being tested through clinical trials, with early indications showing positive results. It is hoped that the days of being offered palliative chemotherapy only, or this form of toxic treatment alongside radical and often painful surgery, are now behind us.
With treatment options changing rapidly, what questions should you ask of your treating medical team to ensure you receive the most effective treatment for the particular sub-type of mesothelioma you suffer with?
Is it worth obtaining a second opinion?
You may consider asking your doctor whether they have considered sending your biopsy results to another expert for a second opinion. This is often required as mesothelioma can be very difficult to diagnose. It is common for meetings of minds or “multi-disciplinary team meetings” to be held to assist in confirming a diagnosis and also to consider treatment options for a patient.
Why is this form of treatment being recommended for me?
Now that we know that other forms of treatment exist to assist in tackling asbestos-related mesothelioma, you may consider asking your doctor about other available treatments and why a particular treatment is being recommended for you over others.
There are pluses and minuses to surgery and treatments alike and it is important to weight up the risks against the benefits before committing to a decision on your treatment.
Are there any side-effects associated with my treatment?
Whilst some treatments may succeed in extending a person’s life, patients also often want to consider whether there will be an effect on quality of life. This is a key question and it is important to consider how you wish to live your life when tackling the disease. Radical surgery for example, may result in significant pain and suffering for many weeks if not months for some after the procedure. However, it may significantly extend a patient’s prognosis and this may encourage someone to go ahead with this course of treatment.
How long can I expect to survive for?
This may be a key question to ask of a treating medical team for some but not all as many sufferers do not wish to hear the answer. The doctor may base their answer on data from clinical trials, whilst taking your age and the stage of your mesothelioma into account.
As we often tell our clients, nobody can say for sure what will happen in the future and we are hearing of inspiring stories of mesothelioma warriors who have fought the disease for many years after being diagnosed and continue to raise awareness and hopes. With new treatments improving all the time, survival rates are likely to continue to improve over time.
How many people have you treated with my mesothelioma sub-type?
This question is relevant and different sub-types of mesothelioma can develop in different ways. For example, sarcomatoid mesothelioma is considered to be the most aggressive form of the disease but we have seen examples of clients responding well to immunotherapy treatment, stalling progression of the disease.
Can I be referred to a specialist mesothelioma treatment centre?
Being seen by a specialist mesothelioma treatment centre such as the Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, led by the eminent Professor Fennell, can be advantageous as centres are looking to recruit patients for ongoing clinical trials. At these centres it may be possible to receive treatments, which are only currently available in the UK on a private paying basis, free of charge. It may be worth travelling a distance to be seen by such specialist teams.
If you require assistance in claiming compensation to cover private treatment costs to help combat your mesothelioma or have any questions about ongoing clinical trials, we can put you in touch with the relevant treatment centres. Contact us today on our freephone number 0800 038 6767. Alternatively, head over to the ‘Contact Us’ page, complete the form and we will be in touch.