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Many elderly mesothelioma patients die without treatment

Mesothelioma specialists have conducted a study that may be of interest to those in Louisville who know someone with this cancer. Results of the study have been published in the Annals of Surgical Oncology revealing that many mesothelioma patients 80 years and older are dying without receiving any cancer-related treatments. These treatments could have increased the median survival rate, which came to only 4.1 months.

Of the 4,526 elderly patients who were analyzed, 63% were not treated beyond an observation from their physician while 22% received chemotherapy. Of this latter group, the median survival rate was a much longer 9.5 months. Elderly patients may thus want to bring up the possibility of cancer therapies with their oncologist.

Age often determines what treatments patients can receive because aggressive surgeries are risky. Only 8% of patients underwent surgical resection, and of these, 11% only lived 30 days after treatment, and 28.5% lived 90 days subsequent to it. Systemic therapies do not come at such a high risk for elderly patients.

The study also looked at patients under 80 who were in the National Cancer Database. According to the study, 36% only received observation, 47% underwent chemotherapy and 17% had a combination of chemotherapy and surgery. The median survival rates were, respectively, 6.6 months, 12.2 months and 17.7 months.

Mesothelioma is one of the most serious of asbestos-related illnesses and can form the basis for an injury claim if victims can show that they developed the condition through another's negligence. If victims die, the family may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit and be covered for loss of support or consortium, pre-death medical bills and funeral and burial expenses. In either case, it may be wise to retain legal counsel since the other side will likely have a legal team fighting to deny payment.

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