You shouldn’t take chances with any aspect of mesothelioma. From how quickly you tell a doctor about symptoms to which lawyer you choose for representation, you should always make your health and comfort the top priority.

The same is correct for where you get treated.

A new report published in the JAMA Network highlights how a hospital’s quality can make all the difference in a cancer patient’s survival. There’s even a significant difference between a top-ranked hospital and its network of affiliate centers.

The analysis explicitly compared elite hospitals to affiliate hospitals that share the brand but don’t have the same resources. The discrepancies clearly show that — to give yourself the most hope for living a long and healthy life — you should settle for nothing less than the most prestigious hospitals.

If you’re seeking medical care for your mesothelioma diagnosis — or that of a loved one — we can help. Our patient advocate and registered nurse, Jenna Campagna, can find the top-ranked hospital nearest you and help you schedule an appointment. Email her at jenna@mesotheliomaguide.com.

 

The Relationship Between Elite Hospitals and Affiliates

Most top cancer centers lead a network of institutions. They allow the use of their brand name to raise the prestige of the affiliate locations.

For instance, Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston is one of the best cancer centers in the United States. It also has an innovative mesothelioma treatment program, making it an attractive option for people with this cancer. In addition to the primary location, seven other affiliates around Massachusetts use the “Brigham and Women’s” branding.

MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston is another example. The institution has five affiliates that use the “MD Anderson Cancer Center” brand name. These affiliates are in Arizona, California, Florida and New Jersey.

According to the JAMA Network report, half of survey respondents believed that affiliate hospitals would have the same survival and safety benefits as those of the most renowned institutions.

The report defined “brand-sharing affiliates” as hospitals that were within the network and included the brand name. The analysis of survival data and safety included 56 top-ranked hospitals and 206 affiliates.

 

Better Hospital for Cancer Treatment Equals Better Survival

The study involved nearly 120,000 cancer cases, all of which required surgery. The six types of cancer analyzed were: esophageal, gastric, lung, pancreatic, colorectal and bladder. Lung cancer treatment is similar to pleural mesothelioma treatment because the two cancers form in the same general area. Surgery for pleural mesothelioma may involve removing the affected lung.

Around two-thirds (nearly 80,000) of the patients underwent treatment at one of the U.S. News and World Report’s top 50 cancer hospitals. Eligibility for this label required a top-50 ranking at least one year between 2013 and 2016.

Around one-third (nearly 40,000) of the cases involved an affiliate of these medical institutions. Affiliates may have fewer resources and smaller staff to treat patients.

At the affiliate hospitals, the post-surgery mortality within 90 days was higher for every type of cancer surgery. The long-term survival for patients at affiliate hospitals was 77% of top-ranked hospitals. In fact, the elite hospitals had better one-, two- and three-year survival rates for all six cancer types analyzed.

Around two-thirds (nearly 80,000) of the patients went to top-ranked cancer centers:

  • Their median age was 66.
  • Around 55% were men.

One-third (nearly 40,000) went to affiliate hospitals:

  • Their median age was 69.
  • The gender split was 50-50.

The comparable ages and genders exclude other potential factors that could explain survival disparities. The simplest explanation is that top-ranked hospitals have more resources, a larger staff and more experienced specialists. The result is more treatment options for patients.

“Patients at top-ranked cancer hospitals were more likely to receive preoperative chemotherapy (20.8% compared to 7.8%) and preoperative radiation (12.3% compared to 5.1%),” the report reads.

If you’re seeking medical care for your mesothelioma, prioritize finding the absolute best. The top specialists and doctors work at the top cancer centers, and we can help you find one close to where you live.

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Devin Goldan image

About the Writer, Devin Golden

Devin Golden is the content writer for Mesothelioma Guide. He produces mesothelioma-related content on various mediums, including the Mesothelioma Guide website and social media channels. Devin's objective is to translate complex information regarding mesothelioma into informative, easily absorbable content to help patients and their loved ones.

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Devin Golden

About the Writer, Devin Golden

Devin Golden is the content writer for Mesothelioma Guide. He produces mesothelioma-related content on various mediums, including the Mesothelioma Guide website and social media channels. Devin's objective is to translate complex information regarding mesothelioma into informative, easily absorbable content to help patients and their loved ones.