Although most mesothelioma victims are male, women can contract the disease. But do these female victims receive the same level of care as their male counterparts? A new study says they might not.
Clinical Lung Cancer recently published an article that found women received less aggressive treatment than men. There were other differences between male and female victims, but the researchers tried to account for the different variables. Overall, they found women were less likely to receive surgery or chemotherapy than men with similar cases.
What are the differences?
The study based its findings on a decade’s worth of data from the National Cancer Database. Some of the more relevant details included:
- Men made up 78% of the sample cases while women accounted for 22%
- Women tended to receive their diagnoses at an earlier age, with fewer complications and with a less aggressive type of mesothelioma
- The researchers filtered their data for these variables and found that female victims tended to live longer than men
- Despite these facts, the study found that women were disproportionately overlooked for the surgeries and chemotherapy treatments their male counterparts were offered
The study’s authors didn’t find any reason these women couldn’t treat their cancers more aggressively. It only found they were less likely to receive the aggressive treatments that stood the best chance of curing them completely.
The results seemed to suggest that female victims need to advocate more strongly for their treatment. This point comes even as another article in Clinical Lung Cancer highlighted how newer treatments could increase survival rates. That article looked at which people were included in clinical trials. It found that people who took part in those trials had much greater survival rates, living nearly an extra year on average.
Treatment is available
The connection between mesothelioma and asbestos exposure has been well-documented. And manufacturers have known about the risks associated with asbestos for decades. That means many of the companies that continued to sell asbestos-containing products or expose their workers to asbestos knew they were putting people at risk. And they did it anyway.
The Clinical Lung Cancer study may be just the latest to reflect the fact that women tend to survive mesothelioma longer than men. But the science says women who get the treatment they need should survive even longer yet.