We at Mesothelioma Guide already reported how early palliative care can improve quality of life for mesothelioma patients. Palliative care, also called pain-relief therapy, can reduce symptoms and improve patient comfort at every stage of their cancer battle.
Receiving pain-relief treatment soon after diagnosis also helps in other important ways: medical costs and survival time.
These factors were examined by doctors at the University of Florida Health and other medical institutions. The report, published in the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s journal, focused on lung cancer patients.
Since most mesothelioma cases form near the lungs and many of the palliative and curative treatments are used for both cancers, the study is relevant for people with mesothelioma.
Difference in Medical Costs Due to Palliative Therapies
First, the authoring doctors noted that patients were responding quickly to their diagnosis. The time between diagnosis and first palliative treatment was down from 13.7 weeks in 2001 to 8.3 weeks in 2015. This news is promising.
Use of pain-relief treatment also equated to lower health care costs. Patients who received this immediate comfort-focused care had costs of around $1,285 in 2015. Patients who had no palliative therapies had costs of $3,180 in 2011.
Outpatient Pain-Relief Treatment Improves Survival
Receiving palliative care from a cancer center is also recommended compared to doing so elsewhere. The doctors found that outpatient treatment helped patients’ survival times.
There are several palliative therapies for mesothelioma. For patients with pleural mesothelioma, which forms near the lungs in an area called the “pleura,” doctors may recommend:
- Pleurodesis (minor surgery to close the pleura)
- Thoracentesis (minor surgery to drain fluid from the pleura)
For peritoneal mesothelioma, which forms in the lining around the abdomen called the “peritoneum,” doctors may recommend chemotherapy or thoracentesis (minor surgery to drain fluid from the peritoneum).
Doctors may also prescribe pain-relief medication or antidepressants for either type of mesothelioma.
Please speak to our team before deciding not to receive palliative care for your mesothelioma. You may feel the costs are too great or the survival benefit is too small, but our patient advocates will work in your best interests to find a cancer center. They’ll also explain financial options to help you cover the costs of treatment. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more guidance.
Sources & Author
- Timing, Costs, and Survival Outcome of Specialty Palliative Care in Medicare Beneficiaries With Metastatic Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer. JCO Oncology Practice. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33006914/. Accessed: 01/14/2021.
Sources & Author