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Socioeconomic Factors Shape Mesothelioma Outcomes

Socioeconomic Factors Shape Mesothelioma Outcomes

Socioeconomic and racial factors can play a role in the survival rates of patients with mesothelioma.

This finding was presented by a team of researchers at the 2023 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Mesothelioma Survival Rates

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive type of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. It mostly affects the lining of the lungs, but also occurs in the abdomen. It is diagnosed in around 2,000 people in the United States each year, which is a very small percentage of all cancer cases.

The outlook for people with mesothelioma is not good, with only 7 to 10% of patients surviving for five years. The disease is usually diagnosed when people are older because it takes a long time for symptoms to appear.

Exploring the Influence of Race and Socioeconomic Status

A group of researchers wanted to study how different factors. These included race and socioeconomic status. They can affect the chances of survival for patients with mesothelioma. They looked at information from a large database that collects data on cancer cases. The study included 13,166 patients diagnosed with mesothelioma between 2000 and 2019.

When it came to the stage of the disease at diagnosis, the Black patients in the study had a higher percentage of cases that had spread to other parts of the body compared to White and Asian/Pacific Islander patients.

The study also looked at income levels. The researchers found that a larger number of Black patients had a household income below $65,000 compared to White and Asian/Pacific Islander patients. The researchers also noticed that a smaller number of Black patients were married at the time of diagnosis compared to the other racial groups.

In terms of treatment, chemotherapy was the most common option. It was followed by surgery and radiation. However, the researchers found that a higher percentage of Black patients did not receive any treatment compared to the other racial groups.

When looking at survival rates, the study found that Black patients had the lowest rates compared to White and Asian/Pacific Islander patients. After one year, only 29% of Black patients were still alive, while 33.2% of White patients and 31% of Asian/Pacific Islander patients survived. The rates continued to drop at the three-year and five-year marks for all racial groups.

The researchers concluded that factors like race and income can affect the overall survival of mesothelioma patients. This disparity may be due to factors such as the disease being diagnosed at a later stage, lower rates of marriage, lower household income, and limited access to treatment options.


Patel D, Yadukumar L, Dourado CM, Leighton JC. Demographic and racial characteristics, and survival trends in pleural mesothelioma: A population based study [abstract taken from J Clin Oncol. 2023;41(16): e20543-e20543]. https://ascopubs.org/doi/abs/10.1200/JCO.2023.41.16_suppl.e20543

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