New report highlights difficulties mesothelioma patients face in the healthcare system

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A recent report has found that there is still more work to be done to improve the care and treatment for mesothelioma patients in the healthcare system.

The report, called Uncovering Mesothelioma, was published by pharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb and shared by the asbestos cancer charity Mesothelioma UK.

Researchers interviewed 5 people who had been diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare but aggressive cancer linked to asbestos exposure, and one carer to understand patients’ experiences better from diagnosis to care and treatment.

Improving the diagnosis and treatment process for mesothelioma

The report examined a mesothelioma patient’s journey, from being diagnosed to getting treatment. It broke this down into 4 stages, and gave recommendations for how patients’ and carers’ experiences can be improved:

  1. Onset of symptoms

Many people are not familiar with mesothelioma, or with the links between asbestos exposure and serious health conditions. This can mean symptoms are ignored and people don’t ask for help until they are already seriously ill. The report recommends a public information campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos.

  1. Seeking help from a GP

The symptoms of mesothelioma (like shortness of breath and chest pain) are similar to many different conditions. The report recommends that GPs always consider patients’ career history when they have symptoms. That way, potential asbestos exposure can be identified, and so can someone’s risk of mesothelioma as a result.

  1. Confirming a diagnosis

The report highlights the need for clear, simple communication with patients and carers at the diagnosis stage, so they know what’s going on and are kept up to date at what can be a very emotionally challenging time. It also recommended that patients have the name and contact details of a specialist nurse, such as those working with Mesothelioma UK.

  1. Treatment planning

Although it can be affected by several factors, the prognosis for mesothelioma is sadly poor with only 45% of patients surviving for one year or more after diagnosis. However, there are treatment opportunities and clinical trials that are suitable for some people. Unfortunately, the report highlighted that patients and carers often feel they have to personally push for different treatment. It emphasised the need for medical professionals to make sure that mesothelioma patients are made aware of clinical trials and given the opportunities for the treatments that were most suitable for them.

Support for mesothelioma patients and carers

Andrew Stinchcombe is a specialist asbestos disease solicitor from our Bristol office. He has many years’ experience supporting people affected by mesothelioma, and says:

“The ‘Uncovering Mesothelioma’ report shines a light on an aspect of the diagnosis and treatment of mesothelioma that can be overlooked – that is, the human impact of flaws, delays and confusion.

“Mesothelioma is thankfully a rare cancer but it is devastating for those affected by it. The overarching message of this report is that there needs to be greater awareness of mesothelioma both in the medical profession but also among the general public.

“If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it’s important to speak to a specialist asbestos disease lawyer as soon as possible. At Novum Law we pride ourselves on our human touch – as well as helping our clients access compensation, we understand the need for compassion and clarity at a difficult time, to ensure you can get the care and support you need.”

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, Novum Law’s expert legal team are ready to help on a ‘No Win, No Fee’ basis to ensure you can access the compensation and support you deserve. To find out more, call Novum Law for a free, no obligation chat on 0800 884 0777, email or complete our online enquiry form.

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