Could immunotherapy help in the battle against mesothelioma?

Jun 15, 2022 | Mesothelioma

Receiving a diagnosis of mesothelioma means facing a particularly poor prognosis. The five-year survival rates for mesothelioma are lower than with many other cancers, and there is no treatment that will successfully cure mesothelioma, unlike many other cancers. Once the condition has presented noticeable symptoms, it will continue to generate symptoms that impact your health and quality of life.

Thankfully, medical researchers have significantly improved the treatment options available to those with serious and aggressive cancers, like mesothelioma, in recent years. Certain treatments, like immunotherapy, are particularly promising for those with aggressive cancers that don’t respond well to more traditional treatment options.

Instead of putting your body through a near-death experience, which is essentially what chemotherapy does, immunotherapy focuses instead on helping your body fight the cancer itself. Could such treatments be a viable option for someone with a recent mesothelioma diagnosis?

Immunotherapies are still new medical technology

Every year, more research comes out supporting the efficacy of different immunotherapy treatments, either on their own or in conjunction with chemotherapy and radiation. Some patients have gone into remission and remained cancer-free thanks to these cutting-edge treatments.

Immunotherapy could be as beneficial for those with mesothelioma as those with other serious cancers. It may improve someone’s life expectancy and their overall quality of life. Even if they cannot achieve cancer-free status, their body may be able to better manage the cancer with treatment.  However, many immunotherapy drugs carry a six-figure price tag, sometimes even more than that.

Many insurance companies will not pay the full price for a medication that costs so much. Additionally, mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer, which means it is not a form of cancer that researchers prioritize when developing and testing new cancer medications.

Unfortunately, there may not be any insurance coverage for the best immunotherapy treatments for mesothelioma. It could be years before major insurance carriers embrace these new treatments, and there could be an even longer wait before there will be immunotherapy treatments available specifically designed for mesothelioma. Insurance companies may not cover the cost of treatment until there is FDA approval specifically for mesothelioma patients.

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