A new study published in Thoracic Cancer discussed the impact of COVID‐19 pandemic on new mesothelioma diagnoses in Italy.
Malignant mesothelioma is a rare disease of great interest to the scientific community and to public health. This is due to its high lethality and its association with asbestos exposure.
The timely diagnosis of mesothelioma is important. Although it may not change the prognosis of the disease, it can help in treatment strategies. It can also help in documenting previous exposure to asbestos. This can contribute to any request for compensation.
New Study Shows Promising Results
During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a delay in the diagnosis of oncological diseases. This was because many departments were converted into COVID wards. And because many outpatient activities were stopped.
There was a documented 39% decline in cancer diagnoses in Italy during the pandemic. This decrease is likely due to a delay in access to testing due to COVID-19 infection-control measures.
A team of Italian scientists wanted to know how much this delay may have harmed mesothelioma patients. Luckily, their results were more promising than anyone hoped.
This study checked the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the number of new mesothelioma diagnoses. This was in relation to both the phase of the pandemic and geographical area.
Previous to this study, there was no data on COVID-19 and its impact on mesothelioma diagnoses. The study team looked at 307 patient cases in 2019, and 297 cases in 2020.
The team found no significant differences in the first wave of the pandemic. In fact, there were actually more diagnoses of malignant mesothelioma than the previous year. Doctors think this is because more people were getting checked for respiratory symptoms.
The number of mesothelioma diagnoses did not change with regional COVID-19 numbers. Nor with the physical distancing measures.
COVID-19 Did Not Impact Mesothelioma Diagnosis Rates
Mesothelioma patients are often elderly and have other respiratory diseases. As a result, they often have a more unfavorable outcome if they also contract COVID-19.
Yet, the COVID-19 pandemic had little or no impact on new malignant mesothelioma diagnoses in Italy.
Mangone, Lucia, Pamela Mancuso, Isabella Bisceglia, Paolo Giorgi Rossi, Elisabetta Chellini, Corrado Negro, Lucia Benfatto et al. “The impact of COVID‐19 on new mesothelioma diagnoses in Italy.” Thoracic Cancer 13, no. 5 (2022): 702-707. https://doi.org/10.1111/1759-7714.14296