The COVID‐19 pandemic had a major effect on some mesothelioma patients in Italy. A new study in Medical & Clinical Research shows how the pandemic harmed new diagnoses and survival.
Malignant mesothelioma is one of the rarest types of cancer. Many people have never even heard of ‘asbestos cancer’ until they are diagnosed. Most do not know anyone else who has it. Social distancing to protect themselves against COVID-19 compounds the problem.
The timely diagnosis of mesothelioma is important. Although it may not change the prognosis of the disease, it can help in treatment strategies. Treatment delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic had a major effect on survival rates for some patients.
Survival Rate during Pandemic
During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a delay in the diagnosis of many cancer diseases. Hospitals converted many departments into COVID-19 clinics. And clinics canceled many outpatient activities.
A few months ago, a team reported no significant differences in the first wave of the pandemic. But, new data has just been released that suggests the opposite.
News from the University of Trieste in Italy reports a decrease in new mesothelioma diagnoses during the COVID-19 pandemic. This has resulted in an increase in avoidable deaths.
The team compared 109 mesothelioma patient records from 2020 to those from 2019. They compared both the number of mesothelioma diagnoses recorded and patient survival time.
Compared to 2019, in 2020 the total number of mesothelioma diagnoses cases increased by 9.2%. The number of pleural mesotheliomas increased by 16.7%. But peritoneal cases decreased by 45.2%.
Compared to 2019, in 2020 median survival was worse for peritoneal mesotheliomas. In 2020, patients survived 6 months versus 12.5 months in 2019. This was more prominent in females. Women survived 6 months in 2020 versus 9 months in 2019.
The pandemic caused delays in cancer diagnosis and treatment for some Italian patients. This in turn may have had a major effect on patient survival time.
Early diagnosis is essential to ensure the clinical management of mesothelioma patients.
D’Agostin, Flavia, Paola De Michieli, Martina Lorenzino, and Corrado Negro. “Malignant mesothelioma diagnosis and survival in the time of COVID-19 in Northeastern Italy.” Medical & Clinical Research 7 (7): 01 8 (2022). https://www.medclinrese.org/open-access/malignant-mesothelioma-diagnosis-and-survival-in-the-time-of-covid-19-in-northeastern-italy.pdf