Health Discoveries in Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma survival lessened by drinking and smoking

September 10, 2010
Patients treated for peritoneal mesothelioma (a malignant disease of the abdominal cavity) who also smoke and drink alcohol lessen their disease-free survival time significantly, according to The American Surgeon.

Researchers studied 20 patients with mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer linked to asbestos exposure, between 1997 and 2008 at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. The average survival rate of study participants was 30 months, but the length of time living disease-free was significantly reduced if the patient smoked. Non-smokers were disease-free for an average 11 months compared to only four months for smokers. Patients who drank alcohol also had a far shorter survival than those who didn’t drink.

In addition, age and gender influenced the survival rate, with patients under the age of 55 being disease-free for just four months, compared to an average 15 months in patients older than age 55. Men had a survival period of eight months compared to 24 months for women, a disparity that researchers say may be because the tumors in women are less aggressive or that they tend to seek treatment sooner than men.

The Cancer Institute within the North Shore-LIJ Health System has a multidisciplinary team of medical specialists who treat mesothelioma with radiation, surgery and chemotherapy.
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