New research suggests that mesothelioma patients with low levels of albumin, a blood protein, are more likely to survive only a year or less after being diagnosed malignant pleural mesothelioma.
Chinese experts and researchers conducted a study of 97 patients who were admitted into the Shandong University Hospital from 1995 through 2013. Each patient was newly diagnosed with mesothelioma and was already set up to undergo platinum-based chemotherapy.
After evaluating the patients and their records, researchers determined that 34 of the patients had extremely low albumin levels prior to treatment. Once treatment began, the patients with low albumin levels had a 44.1% survival rate for one year, whereas those that had high levels of albumin had a 72% chance of surviving past one year.
Albumin’s main function in the body is to carry fatty acids, thyroid hormones, and steroids into the bloodstream. According to the research, the survival odds of mesothelioma decreased by at least 9% for each 1 g/l albumin level reduction.
Dr. Zhou-Hong Yao, the lead researcher in the study, says that a pretreatment serum is the easiest way to detect albumin levels, and in turn can help measure patient survival rates much easier.
“The pretreatment serum albumin level is a simple, inexpensive and easily measurable marker with prognostic significance in malignant pleural mesothelioma patients treated with platinum-based systemic chemotherapy,” said Dr. Yao.
The full details of the study are located in Tumour Biology, July 2014, Volume 35, issue 7, pp. 6839-6845.
Mesothelioma is a life-threatening illness that’s generally brought about after exposure to asbestos. Unfortunately, most victims will live with the disease for decades before its initial symptoms start to surface.
Since the early symptoms tend to mimic symptoms of common respiratory ailments, many people don’t seek out medical treatment until the disease is in its latest stages. It’s important to undergo routine medical check-ups if you’ve been exposed to asbestos.
Some of the most common initial symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include:
- Coughing, with or without phlegm
- Breath shortness
- Chest pain, typically under the rib cage
- A general feeling of lethargy and fatigue
As the disease progresses, abnormal lumps may start to appear under the skin on the chest, fluid buildup may occur in the lungs, and unusual weight loss may follow.
In addition, if your exposure to asbestos is due to the negligent actions of another party, such as a manufacturer supplying asbestos-containing products to your job site, you may be eligible for compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain, suffering and more. For more information on your legal rights and for a free, no-obligation case consultation, contact our experienced asbestos law firm today.
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