Mesothelioma Research News: To Trust or Not to Trust?
In the current age that we live in, we are more informed than ever as we have access to websites, newspapers, magazines, blogs, etc. This flood of information makes our generation and those that follow the most connected and educated than ever before, or at least we have the potential to be. Utilizing this information in an effective manner can be challenging. The cool aspect of having this much information at our fingertips is that it allows us to learn about rare diseases such as mesothelioma, its symptoms, diagnosis, and new mesothelioma treatment options.
Usually, when new research with scientific discovery is published, all sorts of websites rush to cover the news, often using attracting and catching headlines to call the readers’ attention. Even academic websites apply a positive tone to the news in order to attract more attention.
While searching for information on mesothelioma, it is extremely important to keep in mind and consider the following three “ifs”:
- If the news is really about mesothelioma
- If real patients were used in the study
- If the results will actually help people
Finding general information instead of specific information
Many articles can commonly refer to cancer as a general disease, but the truth is that there are more than 200 different types of cancers out there. Each of these diseases is unique with different causes, symptoms, and treatments.
While dissecting an article, it is important to analyze and determine if it is solely talking about mesothelioma. Only minor parts speak about mesothelioma in many modern-day articles. Especially hyper-focused content like information about stage 4 mesothelioma or mesothelioma alternative treatments. The reason for this may correlate with the rarity of the disease.
Many parts of such articles discuss the more common types of cancer – such as breast or prostate cancer. To learn more about mesothelioma, the generalized information you will find in these will not be beneficial due to the large differences that exist between the cancer types.
Focus on articles Regarding the Right type of Mesothelioma
There are various types of mesothelioma, including pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma, each of which has different treatment plan options. Mesothelioma alternative treatments are increasing in popularity as a topic of discussion across mesothelioma blogs. Natural mesothelioma therapies such as meditation, homeopathy, and swimming have grown through the last few years. In addition, the stage of cancer and the type of mesothelial cell are also reliable factors that are considered.
When searching for specific information about a certain type of mesothelioma, be careful with trusting websites that talk about common cures for cancer. In some cases, mesothelioma can be treated like other types of cancer by using shared methods, drugs, or plans.
An example of this is the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab (Keytruda), which is used to treat lung cancer. This drug has shown positive results for some patients with pleural mesothelioma. Another example is the use of hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), as it has been used on patients with ovarian cancer and peritoneal mesothelioma. There are clinical trials for Keytruda used in combination with CRS-207 to treat malignant pleural mesothelioma.
Beneficial laboratory research that could help
Once a true mesothelioma research article has been found after a long search, the next step is to determine whether or not real patients are involved. Although it is true that the inclusion of laboratory experiments and investigations are valuable sources, unfortunately, many times real patients are not used. This can cause patients to develop misconceptions regarding the disease and its treatment options.
These researches can develop very differently from one another.
In vitro research refers to experiments conducted in a laboratory using test tubes, Petri dishes, or any device that does not involve a living individual. Drug compounds and mixes are used in these types of experiments on mesothelioma cells growing in the laboratory. The results of such research studies may be positive, but due to the many reactions that can affect the drug, it cannot be fully guaranteed when applied to a patient.
Unlike in vitro researches, these are experiments are conducted on living things – commonly including lab mice. The scientists test these creatures by putting mesothelioma cells inside their bodies. They are then studied based on the evolution of the disease as well as their response to treatments. Mice are used because they respond to treatment in a similar way as humans do. Although such studies are more useful than Petri dishes, there is no substitute for tests that use human beings.
Real patients can volunteer themselves for Mesothelioma clinical trials. This may involve undergoing experimental treatments that seek approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration by passing certain phases. Searching for an active mesothelioma clinical trial or a recruiting mesothelioma clinical trial may be a good idea for patients.
- Phase I consists of studying a small number of patients to determine if the treatment is safe.
- Phase II consists of studying a large group of patients to determine if the treatment works.
- Phase III consists of a comparison between patients that receive the experimental treatment and patients that receive normal treatment. In this phase, scientists can more accurately determine if the new treatment actually improves a patient’s health condition.
It is common for the general public who do not have the medical knowledge to misinterpret the results shown through the research. Be careful with words that are essential to understanding the results of studies – such as median, average, overall survival, survival rate, progression-free survival, side effects, complications, risk factors, adverse events, quality of life, prognosis, evolution, and so on.
Unfortunately, sometimes certain drug producers and pharmaceutical industries have a financial influence to make the studies show a positive outcome, keeping aside possible outcomes or negative results.
Do not create false hopes
It is important to know how much the implementation of a specific treatment is going to help patients. Outcomes nowadays are typically more positive than 20 years ago, giving the opportunity of a longer life-expectancy for mesothelioma patients while feeling better. Nonetheless, mesothelioma, unfortunately, remains a rare, aggressive, and incurable disease. Those diagnosed with stage 3 mesothelioma and stage 4 mesothelioma typically have the shortest mesothelioma life expectancy.
It is essential to focus on the facts and to not be moved by false hopes. Always examine the type of patients involved, possible risks, and outcomes of applying new treatment plans and/or drugs.
The final word belongs to the doctors
Scientific and medical studies can be difficult to understand, so recur to the individuals who were meant by these studies: the doctors. Seek an expert’s opinion that manages the mesothelioma topic more regularly and easily.