The recent surge in COVID-19 coronavirus cases may have a severe impact on people with mesothelioma. Any delay in receiving life-saving treatment, even due to fear of the virus, runs the risk of diminishing survival time.
That’s why it’s imperative for mesothelioma patients to start treatment as soon as possible, while taking the safety precautions to avoid an infection.
New analysis from the British Medical Journal details how a slight postponement of treatment — such as one month — can increase cancer mortality. Mesothelioma, a fast-spreading cancer that forms near vital organs, is no exception.
Increases in Cancer Mortality Due to Postponing Treatment
The United Kingdom National Health Service (NHS) assisted with the data, which included cancers of the bladder, breast, colon, rectum, lung, cervix, head and neck. Researchers discovered that a four-week delay increased the chances of death by 10%.
The data points to a 6-8% increase in death rate for each four-week delay in undergoing surgery. Delaying radiotherapy caused as high as a 9% mortality spike for certain cancers. Postponing post-surgery drug treatment had similar consequences.
“Cancer treatment delay is a problem in health systems worldwide,” the scientists wrote. “The impact of delay on mortality can now be quantified for prioritization and modeling. Even a four-week delay of cancer treatment is associated with increased mortality across surgical, systemic treatment, and radiotherapy indications for seven cancers.”
University of Michigan researchers noticed similar data in the United States. After reviewing more than 5.4 million individuals in the National Cancer Database, they uncovered that the impact of delaying cancer treatment varied for each type and stage of a malignancy.
We at Mesothelioma Guide have stressed the importance of mesothelioma patients taking precautions to avoid infection. The virus is a respiratory illness, which is especially relevant for people with mesothelioma near the lungs.
While caution is necessary, putting a pause on treatment is not the answer.
Managing Your Mesothelioma During the Pandemic
The reason for avoiding hospitals is understandable. The COVID-19 pandemic hits milestone after milestone, seemingly every day or week. Cases and hospitalizations are rising throughout the United States and across the globe.
However, there are methods to get life-saving treatment while minimizing your risk of infection. Rather than delay treatment, we have suggestions for how to manage your mesothelioma during the pandemic:
- Wear a mask or face covering at all times when at a hospital or cancer center.
- Prioritize finding a top-ranked center, as they’ll have the resources and procedures to keep you safe.
- Reduce your exposures to people aside from necessary hospital visits.
- Transition to telehealth and virtual doctor appointment when possible.
- Ask the hospital staff about how they’ll keep you safe from infection before, during and after surgery or other therapies.
If you’re in search of treatment for your mesothelioma, our team can help. We regularly connect patients to cancer centers that are known for survival rates and safety measures. We’ll prioritize finding an option that will minimize the risk of infection, allowing you to have peace of mind when starting treatment.
Email our patient advocate and registered nurse, Karen Ritter, at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how we can help you beat this cancer.
Sources & Author
- Four-week cancer treatment delay raises death risk by 10% – study. The Guardian. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/nov/04/four-week-cancer-treatment-delay-raises-death-risk-study-nhs-covid. Accessed: 11/12/2020.
- Mortality due to cancer treatment delay: systematic review and meta-analysis. British Medical Journal. Retrieved from: https://www.bmj.com/content/371/bmj.m4087. Accessed: 11/12/2020.
- OncCOVID model predicts impact of delaying cancer treatment during pandemic. MedwireNews. Retrieved from: https://www.medwirenews.com/oncology/infectious-disease/onccovid-predicts-impact-of-delaying-cancer-treatment-pandemic/18557370. Accessed: 11/12/2020.
Sources & Author