The Future of Mesothelioma Research

The Future of Mesothelioma Research

Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that isn’t researched as often as other types of cancer. A new study from the European Journal of Oncology Nursing explored what questions we still need to answer to provide the best care for mesothelioma patients.

Screening and Preventative Tests

Malignant mesothelioma is one of the rarest cancers in the US. That is fortunate because the cancer death rates from this malignancy continue to be very high. About 3,000 people receive a mesothelioma diagnosis every year – about 0.02% of all US cancer cases. Most newly diagnosed mesothelioma patients die within 18 months of diagnosis.

Since mesothelioma is so rare, there isn’t as much research on this disease compared to more common cancers. This can make it hard to doctors to know the most effective treatments to help mesothelioma patients.

There are no routine screening tests or preventative steps for mesothelioma, other than avoiding asbestos. But the FDA did approve new immunotherapy drugs for mesothelioma in 2020. It is too early to know if these drugs will make a measurable difference in mesothelioma mortality rates.

Top Five Questions

A group of researchers from the United Kingdom asked people to take an online survey to tell them what they think is important to study about mesothelioma. They also talked to experts who know a lot about mesothelioma, like patients, carers, doctors, and volunteers. They used this information to figure out what the most important questions are that still need to be answered about mesothelioma.

The top five questions they found were about how to manage symptoms, how to diagnose mesothelioma, how to take care of people who are dying from mesothelioma, what it’s like to go through treatment, and how to make sure people can get all the services they need.

By finding out the answers to these questions, doctors and nurses can learn how to better take care of people with mesothelioma and their caregivers.


Taylor B, Tod A, Gardiner C, et al. Mesothelioma patient and carer experience research: A research prioritisation exercise [published online ahead of print, 2023 Feb 10]. Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2023;63:102281. doi:10.1016/j.ejon.2023.102281.

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