A new study indicates that the race of malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) patients may play a part in survival rates. Although less likely to receive aggressive surgery treatment, black people are more likely to survive longer when compared to white people.
According to the study performed by Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER), there’s not only a difference in the survival rates among black and white people, but the average age of diagnosis differs as well. The study included 13,734 diagnosed mesothelioma patients, of which 13,046 were white, and the remainder were black. Although whites are twice as likely to develop mesothelioma, blacks are more likely develop the disease at a younger age.
On average, black patients have a slightly higher survival rate, at 16.7 months, whereas white patients’ survival rate is around 15.5 months. Black patients diagnosed with mesothelioma are generally younger when compared to whites, and more black females are diagnosed than white females.
Black patients are generally less likely to have aggressive surgery to treat mesothelioma, but for those who did, at least 10% survived more than three years. White patients, more likely to have aggressive surgery, had a 7.9% survival rate of past three years.
However, according to Mount Sinai thoracic surgeon Dr. Andrea Wolf, black patients may have less aggressive surgery when compared to white patients due to the availability of medical care and its lack thereof.
“Where you live, who [medically] you are seeing, the lack of developing a rapport with your doctor, the lack of access to a high-volume center, it could be a number of things. We need to find out why, and how to help everyone.”
With access to better medical care, Wolf feels that survival rate of black patients can be extended even further. There is a need, per Wolf, for people of all races to have the same advantages when it comes to mesothelioma treatment.
“This study suggests that further attention to the treatment of black patients is needed to determine if patient survival would be improved with better access to the same treatments as whites. Further studies on exposure history, access to care, type of medical and surgical treatment, and hospital characteristics in black patients with MPM are needed.”
Job History and Mesothelioma
One of the biggest reasons for whites developing mesothelioma at a higher rate than blacks is due to occupational exposure. According to the United States Department of Labor, black people are less likely to be employed in occupations that expose to workers to asbestos. Asbestos exposure is the primary way that mesothelioma develops.
Those who served in the U.S. military prior to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) placing strict regulations on asbestos use are the group of people most likely to develop an asbestos-related disease. The DOL indicates that more white people served in the military prior to the late 1970s, which accounts for thousands of diagnosed mesothelioma cases.
Additional Help and Resources for Asbestos Victims
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be eligible for substantial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, and more. For more than 20 years, we’ve been helping asbestos victims and their loved ones successfully connect with experienced mesothelioma lawyers. We invite you to fill out our contact form today to get free brochures from the top mesothelioma attorneys in your area. There is currently more than $30 billion available in asbestos trust funds, set up by companies who supplied asbestos and asbestos-containing products to numerous job sites.