More mesothelioma patients are receiving active treatment with chemotherapy but just 7% are alive three years after being diagnosed, finds a new report from the Royal College of Physicians and Mesothelioma UK.
Other key findings from the National Mesothelioma Audit include:
- Pathological confirmation of the diagnosis was achieved in 88% of cases, only just short of the 90% audit standard
- Access to a cancer nurse specialist remains variable across England.
- 81% of patients were discussed at lung multi-disciplinary team (MDTs) meetings – short of the 95% target but an improvement on previous years
- Specialist services for patients suffering from peritoneal mesothelioma are now emerging. Peritoneal mesothelioma is rare, constituting 4% of mesothelioma cases, and are included for the first time in this report
Dr Steve Holmes, PCRS-UK Education Lead, says: “We should always remember clinically that many who worked with asbestos and have now retired will be the people who we should have a low threshold for investigation - electricians, plumbers, builders, and especially those who worked in the docklands – who are particularly at risk of having being exposed to asbestos.
“An accurate diagnosis is important, and in primary care it is also important to ensure that the families and carers of those who die are warned that the coroner will be involved and often a post mortem will be required.”
These resources will help your practice to support patients with mesothelioma:
- This feature from the Spring 2018 issue of Primary Care Respiratory Update by Dr Stephen Holmes discusses a case history of a presentation of mesothelioma
- The British Thoracic Society published a new guideline in February for the investigation and management of malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM). Endorsed by PCRS-UK, the guideline offers recommendations on symptom recognition, management and follow-up of the disease that are relevant for primary care clinicians.