People suffering from cancer related to asbestos should be given more help to make sure they are seen by specialist doctors, according to a new study.
It highlighted sweeping variations in care across cases of mesothelioma – which develops in the outer membrane of the lungs – across England and Wales.
It is mainly found in older men who may have come into contact with asbestos fibre in jobs such as ship-building, railway engineering, plumbing or electrical wiring.
The Health and Social Care Information Centre found that 8,700 people were diagnosed with mesothelioma between 2008 and 2012.
Authors said there was a wide variation in treatment, although they stressed that the data should be treated with caution as there was only a small number of patients in each region.
The level of patients fit enough to receive chemotherapy treatment varied from 20% to 60% depending on their location.
Around 20% were referred to cancer services through being an emergency case at hospital, meaning their cancer was at a more advanced stage.
However in some parts of the country this was as low as 10%, and as high as 40% in other places.
Clinical leader Mick Peake made the claim that the report has unveiled a variation in diagnosis for mesothelioma, calling it a “worrying” state of affairs.
He pointed out the four-fold rise in proportion of patients admitted to secondary care as an emergency, as well as the rate of fit patients receiving chemotherapy, trebling from 20% to 60%.
“Mesothelioma remains an uncommon cancer in many areas of the country and more needs to be done to ensure that every patient is fully assessed by an experienced and dedicated team of specialist clinicians,” he added.
Source: Daily Mail