One of the biggest questions you’ll have to face after a mesothelioma diagnosis is, “How should I treat this?” Some cancer treatments may seem as harsh and painful as the cancers themselves. But the right treatment can extend your remaining time and improve your quality of life.
You will want to discuss your options with your doctor. Depending on your situation, you may have any number of choices before you. Some of those treatment options will likely cost a great deal of money, so it’s natural to wonder which might work best. Looking at those costs, you might also wonder if you’d fare better if you were richer.
Socioeconomic status does not affect mesothelioma survival rates
As the Abramson Cancer Center at Penn Medicine notes, the average survival rate for mesothelioma victims falls between 4 and 18 months. This is just an average. There are certainly exceptions, and some people have lived for more than 10 years after their diagnosis. Still, it reinforces the importance of finding the most effective treatment, especially when you consider that survival rates have risen over the past decades as treatments have improved.
Fortunately, a recent study found that your socioeconomic status is not a significant factor for your overall survival rate. Neither are your:
- Type of treatment facility
In other words, the fact that you might be wondering how you can afford the right treatment does not mean you will miss out. Your financial status is always a concern, but it should not drive your medical decisions.
The 5 factors most closely tied to better survival rates
If your socioeconomic status isn’t one of the factors most closely tied to your expected survival rate, which factors are? According to the study, they are:
- Young age
- Female gender
- A combination of surgery and chemotherapy, instead of chemotherapy alone
- A combination of surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, instead of chemotherapy alone
- Extended chemotherapy
You may not be able to control your age or sex, but you can ask your doctor to pursue the most aggressive treatment possible. In many cases, surgery is an option. In many others, it is not. But even if your doctor rules out surgery, and the doctor you consult for a second opinion also rules it out, you may discuss prolonged chemotherapy. Even that change leads to a marked improvement in survival rates when compared to the standard chemotherapy.
Finding the most effective treatment
Good, aggressive treatment makes a difference. It’s common sense, and the data support it. However, not every doctor is familiar with the most recent developments in mesothelioma treatments. For the most up-to-date information, you might want to contact one of the leading mesothelioma treatment centers and ask about newer treatments.