The purpose of this study is to examine if early specialist palliative care (SPC) involvement in mesothelioma patients can improve patients' and carers' quality of life (QOL) during their illness. Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining around the chest wall which is caused by asbestos exposure. The UK has the highest death rate from mesothelioma in the world and mesothelioma will soon account for approximately 1 in 170 of all deaths in the UK. At present, there is no cure. About a third of patients have chemotherapy, which can prolong how long patients live ('survival') by a few months. For many patients, doctors can only offer treatment of symptoms from the cancer, rather than treating the cancer itself. For most patients, survival is usually between 8-12 months. Mesothelioma causes many symptoms including breathlessness, chest pain, weight loss and fatigue. SPC medicine doctors and nurses are specialists in treating symptoms due to life limiting illness. They also provide emotional support for patients and carers. The current practice in the UK is to involve SPC towards the end of a patient's life. A recent study from America examining lung cancer patients showed that involving SPC early in a patient's treatment improved patients' QOL during their illness, and also their survival. Our study will randomly divide patients to either all normal treatment and support ('usual care', as is always offered), or usual care and regular SPC consultations from the time of diagnosis. No treatments will be withheld; this study is providing additional support to patients and their families. We will ask patients to complete a QOL questionnaire at the start of the study, and then monthly up to 6 months. Carers will complete a QOL questionnaire at the start of the study and then at 3 and 6 months. We will then compare the reported QOL and survival between the two groups.Please take the links above for more information.
Malignant mesothelioma is a rare cancer of the lining of the chest commonly caused by exposure to asbestos. This exposure may have occurred up to forty years earlier. Mesothelioma usually causes symptoms like breathlessness, loss of weight and chest pain, but it can affect people in different ways. There is no cure for mesothelioma. This study seeks to learn how best we can support patients with mesothelioma and their families.
A study to learn more about treating malignant mesothelioma - can we improve quality of life?