Living with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) presents a multitude of challenges for those diagnosed with the disease. It is known to be an aggressive tumor linked to asbestos exposure. Survival is at best limited with the odds against patients. No cure exists to date, although systemic therapies have had minimal impacts on surviving this deadly form of cancer.
Complications from COVID-19
When COVID-19 entered the United States and created a pandemic, one of the main priorities was to protect those with “pre-existing conditions” that could further compromise immune systems. Near the top in severity was and remained mesothelioma in any form.
The combination of the disease and the virus can carry catastrophic consequences. Common comorbidities include hypertension, ischemic heart disease, and chronic obstructive disease.
A recent study revealed the facts about mesothelioma patients and COVID-19 diagnoses with results presented at the IASLC 2021 World Conference on Lung Cancer. Nearly twenty percent of people suffering from MPM contracted COVID-19, according to data from a Barcelona hospital. Mortality rates were at 75 percent.
Clinical characteristics of those studied included:
- Median age – 62 years
- Median survival – 17.8 months from cancer diagnoses and 0.4 months since COVID diagnoses
- Patients with a history of smoking – 43 percent
- Patients who do not smoke – 57 percent
- Patients taking anticoagulants or aspirin – 57 percent
- Patients hospitalized with a median stay of 12 days – 85 percent
- Patients who contracted bilateral pneumonia – Four
- Patients who died – Five
While vaccines and other therapies provide options for COVID-19 patients, those suffering from mesothelioma do not have that luxury. While statistics change, the outcome for patients is the same.