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Study: chemotherapy slightly increases mesothelioma survival rate

Mesothelioma is a terrible disease for many reasons. Not only does it cause severe pain and discomfort in those afflicted with it, but it also comes with a dismal rate of survival. Following a mesothelioma diagnosis, it is rare to survive more than a couple of years. This is one of the reasons that victims of asbestos exposure should be given every opportunity to be compensated for their pain and suffering.

One of the reasons for the low survival rate is that researchers and medical professionals have not yet found an effective way to treat mesothelioma. A recent study indicates that the use of a specific cocktail of chemotherapy drugs increases the survival time for mesothelioma patients, but just by a few months.

The study focused on nearly 5,000 mesothelioma patients in the Netherlands between 1995 and 2006. The use of chemotherapy to treat mesothelioma increased by about 30 percent between 1998 and 2005. At the same time, the median survival for patients treated with chemotherapy increased from 10.1 months in the earlier years to 13.1 months in the later years. However, the medial survival rate for patients with peritoneal mesothelioma remained poor, at just under 4 months.

However, researchers are not completely certain that chemotherapy was the only reason for the increase in survival time. "Due to the observational nature of the study," the authors wrote, "alternative explanations cannot be excluded." So, it remains to be seen whether the chemotherapy cocktail of cisplatin and antifolate, the subject of the study, is responsible for the increase in survival or whether other factors were at play.

Source: Surviving Mesothelioma, "Modest Increase in Mesothelioma Survival from Chemotherapy," Dec. 19, 2011

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