The Importance of Clinical Trials for Mesothelioma Research

Clinical trials conducted in favor of mesothelioma research are important for advancing mesothelioma research in general. Currently, mesothelioma is not well understood and 40% of pleural mesothelioma cases end with the patient making it past the first year. That means 60% of patients die within a year. Those numbers are far too high.

By conducting clinical trials, it’s possible to improve these numbers and allow patients to live for longer. And one day there may even be a cure for mesothelioma.

Finding Better Treatment Paths

The main reason clinical trials are so pivotal is because they provide new treatment paths. The best example of this is mesothelioma survivor Paul Kraus, who has survived for 20 years with the illness. He has defied medical belief and has provided many insights into treating mesothelioma.

For example, Kraus has demonstrated that making major changes to his diet and lifestyle can have a big impact on survival rates.

Kraus took extreme steps after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 1997. He started by cutting out fatty foods from his diet and taking measures like boosting his Vitamin C consumption. At a time when mesothelioma was poorly understood, his tests created a breakthrough in mesothelioma survival.

And that’s why clinical trials are so critical today. They can expand the life expectancies of mesothelioma sufferers.

More than Anecdotal Evidence

Regardless of how useful Kraus has been, it’s ultimately anecdotal evidence. The only way to get more than this is to conduct formal clinical trials. With only 3,000 people in the whole US being diagnosed every year, organizing these trials can be troublesome.

It’s important to generate data that’s more than anecdotal so that patients can benefit from new methods. This ultimately leads to new treatment guidance passed out to doctors across the world.

These clinical trials have led to such findings as discovering that all asbestos types are lethal to humans.

Mesothelioma is Not the Same

It’s easy to assume that mesothelioma is always the same. It’s not. Only 75% of cases come from pleural mesothelioma, which afflicts the lungs. There’s also pericardial mesothelioma to consider and peritoneal mesothelioma to consider. The variation in mesothelioma means that there must be a variation in testing.

Clinical trials provide resources that unlock the secrets of each type of mesothelioma. Clinical trials have not only revealed the different types of mesothelioma but the different prognoses for patients. It’s made treating mesothelioma far more sophisticated than it once was.

Understanding the Condition Better

Many people believe that the sole objective of clinical trials is to find a treatment for the disease in question. So far doctors have never found a way to completely cure the disease. They’ve only been able to slow the progress of this extremely aggressive form of cancer.

But another goal of clinical trials is to enable sufferers to understand their conditions better. This is important because it can help reduce stress for patients. Clinical trials reduce the number of answers that end with ‘we’re not sure’.

Naturally, this will eventually get doctors closer to a cure, but simply knowing more about the condition has its benefits as well.

Clinical Trials for Mesothelioma can be more Ambitious

The nature of mesothelioma means that patients rarely have hope of living for decades longer. But the aggressiveness of mesothelioma promotes a greater sense of urgency in clinical trials. An incredible amount of progress has been made in just a few years.

Patients are more willing to enter ambitious, experimental clinical trials as they know they don’t have much time left. They can’t afford to wait around for years for a treatment to arise.

In a morbid way, mesothelioma itself enables faster progress. Doctors are more ambitious in their proposed clinical trials because they must to save lives.

Are Clinical Trials Generally Successful?

Mesothelioma clinical trials do come with their risks. These are experimental medications and may have unintended side effects. The goal of conducting clinical trials is to iron out these problems before medications enter widespread use. The participants in the trial accept this risk.

The main obstacle of any clinical trial is the unknown. Researchers are unable to provide concrete information on what’s going to happen. Sometimes the unknown can turn out to be good, bad, or completely indifferent.

Last Word – Mesothelioma Research Relies on Clinical Trials

Before any medication can go forward for general use, it must be proven within a clinical trial. The insights revealed by clinical trials have been instrumental in changing the way we both understand and address mesothelioma as a disease.

But there’s still a long way to go and clinical trials will continue to be critical in the fight against this extremely aggressive form of cancer.

Do you know anyone who has ever participated in a clinical trial?

Author Bio: Victoria Heckstall is a freelance writer that writes on topics that she feels needs more attention brought to them.