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Easing the Painful Symptoms of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

Easing the Painful Symptoms of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma Malignant pleural mesothelioma is an aggressive and rare cancer. There is new hope for reducing the painful symptoms of malignant pleural mesothelioma.

A new study in BMC Cancer looked at treatments and the symptom burden of malignant pleural mesothelioma in Europe.

The symptoms of malignant pleural mesothelioma are very hard. But there are treatments available to improve quality of life. New data proves that chemotherapy eases mesothelioma symptoms. And it is most likely to improve and maintain health-related quality of life.

The Long Journey of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is the asbestos-caused cancer. Malignant pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of mesothelioma. It accounts for over 90,000 deaths per year globally.

It takes a very long time to diagnose mesothelioma. Usually, it takes almost 40 years after asbestos exposure to reach a diagnosis. Prognosis is poor with an average survival of 8 to 14 months from diagnosis. The 5-year survival rate is currently 10%.

The long journey to diagnosis and poor prognosis means that most patients are diagnosed with advanced disease. And unfortunately, the advanced disease can mean a very poor health-related quality of life.

Easing painful symptoms such as panting and fatigue is important. And maintaining the best possible quality of life is an important consideration.

Finding Symptom Relief in Chemotherapy

As the disease progresses, patients often experience a negative impact on their quality of life. A new study provides insights into treatments and the symptom burden of the disease.

The team took patient data from five European countries. They summarized personal, clinical, and treatment data from 1,390 medical records. And 767 mesothelioma patients completed a survey on symptoms and quality of life. The data represents a range of different healthcare systems between January and June 2019.

The most common symptoms were hyperventilation, chest pain, weakness, chronic cough, and weight loss. More patients self-reported experiencing these common symptoms than was documented by their physicians. Tiredness was the most common current symptom self-reported by patients. Most also experienced some limitations in activity performance.

This study found that a patient’s quality of life may be meaningfully improved with chemotherapy treatments. For many, a combination of nivolumab plus ipilimumab has a better response. This combination may also improve a patient’s health-related quality of life.


Moore, Adam, Bryan Bennett, Gavin Taylor-Stokes, Laura McDonald, and Melinda J. Daumont. “Malignant pleural mesothelioma: treatment patterns and humanistic burden of disease in Europe.” BMC cancer 22, no. 1 (2022): 1-15. https://bmccancer.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12885-022-09750-7

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