A call for urgent change to improve outcomes for patients with asbestos-related cancer

Mesothelioma UK, the national asbestos-related cancer charity, has launched the Uncovering Mesothelioma report, published by the pharmaceutical company, Bristol Myers Squibb to coincide with Legacy Week (21-28 September).

Bristol Myers Squibb invited the charity to collaborate on the report because of its expertise in the field of mesothelioma, a rare cancer related to exposure to asbestos that predominantly affects the lining of the lungs. The UK has the highest incidence of the disease in the world with around 2,700 people diagnosed each year. 

Mesothelioma patients are often diagnosed with late-stage disease and receive a poor prognosis. There is an urgent need for action to address the barriers many patients face during the diagnosis and treatment of their condition. It can often be a lengthy process to get a diagnosis due to limited awareness and symptoms overlapping with other conditions.[1] 

In depth interviews were held with five mesothelioma patients and one carer to understand the patient experience throughout the diagnosis pathway, which identified key recommendations for improvement.

Recommendations in the report cover the onset of symptoms, presentation in primary care, diagnosis confirmation and treatment planning. Ultimately, the report suggests that changes are needed throughout the patient pathway to ensure that public awareness is raised, diagnosis is sped up, patient communications are improved, and that access to high quality treatment and care is consistent across the country.

The report is available to read at www.mesothelioma.uk.com/uncovering-mesothelioma

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