To date, no cure has been found for the aggressive and malignant form of asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma. Intensive research also continues to focus on trying to extend survival rate and quality of patient’s life beyond a range of between 4 to 18 months, which have shown in some instances, improvement in recent years.

The short survival rate after a confirmed diagnosis is a result of the unusually long latency period of up to 50 years before first asbestosis symptoms appear, by which time the disease has significantly developed to a point where palliative treatment to ease the final months of suffering is the abiding concern. Unfortunately, the victim will often not survive an ongoing mesothelioma compensation case being pursed by a spouse or family member.

One of the commonly used treatments for mesothelioma is chemotherapy, normally used in conjunction with the surgical removal of part of a malignant tumour, which cannot be completely removed, and/or radiation therapy. Chemotherapy can increase the probability that all cancerous cells have been destroyed and has been shown to maximise a patient’s prognosis.

Chemotherapeutic agents, which are any chemical used to treat cancer and usually referred to as antineoplastic drugs, can also be given via a pill, injection, catheter or a localised area of the body.

According to a recent Australian study, it was found that just over 400 peritoneal (abdominal) mesothelioma patients who underwent cytoreductive surgery to reduce the number of cancer cells together with hyperthermic chemotherapy – where anti-cancer drugs are infused and circulated in the peritoneal cavity/abdomen for a short period of time – the overall and average survival rate was 53 months, far higher than the average malignant mesothelioma forecast.

It was also revealed that combined use of chemotherapy and surgery had increased the actual number of participating patients with extended survival rates to as much as three years (60 per cent) and five years (47 percent).

Malignant mesothelioma patients whose chemotherapy includes both chemotherapeutic agents Cisplatin and Pemetrexed showed a better survival rate than patients taking just one single medication. Around 92 percent of the study participants had received hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy where chemotherapeutic agents Cisplatin, Doxorubicin and Paclitaxel were the three most commonly used.

Researchers concluded that full cytoreductive surgery and completion of hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy could be considered for inclusion alongside other factors of tissue cell subtype and lack of cancerous lymph nodes, which could affect a patient’s response and survival rate forecast.