Do Social Demographics Impact Mesothelioma Survival?

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Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) Factors Contributing to US Mesothelioma Survival Inconsistencies

The Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center conducted a recent study to dive deeper into the social determinants of health factors and how they contribute to inconsistencies in malignant pleural mesothelioma survival rates in the US. The study concluded that risk factors most associated with poor overall survival (OS) in mesothelioma patients include being a minority of the male sex. According to research, non-medical factors such as social determinants of health influence 80% of a person’s health. These social determinants could be fixed factors such as skin color or gender or external factors such as the water in your area or how medical centers near you are equipped.

The cohort study brought together 1389 adults with operable mesothelioma nationwide. The Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center analyzed mesothelioma patients from February 12, 2022, to July 29, 2022. Patients in the study included only those who could receive curative mesothelioma treatment surgery, were under 75 years old, had no metastasis, and had no tumor extension. The study determined that SDOHs significantly affected overall survival, with the most significant risk factors being older age, male sex, Black race, low income, and low educational attainment. These findings suggest that although mesothelioma surgery may prolong survival, social determinants of health may negatively affect patient survival.

What Are Social Determinants of Health (SDOH)?

According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, social determinants of health are the ‘conditions in the environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affects a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.’ Scholars typically separate SDOHs into five categories:

  • Economic Stability
  • Education Access and Quality
  • Health Care Access and Quality
  • Neighborhood and Built Environment
  • Social and Community Context

Examples of SDOHs include transportation, racism, discrimination, education, job opportunities, pollution, language, and much more. Because these social determinants of health can have a ripple effect, SDOHs also contribute to wide health disparities and inequities within different demographics.

Addressing SDOHs in Mesothelioma Treatment and Care

To promote equality in mesothelioma treatment and minimize healthcare inequities, the nation must address SDOHs. To combat these significant disparities in the mesothelioma community, medical center healthcare providers must be aware of the problems facing minority groups in healthcare and treatment. Additionally, providers must promote attaining the full potential for health and wellness for all, as it is frankly a matter of life and death.

To begin, healthcare providers and mesothelioma specialists must understand the warning signs of mesothelioma and how to treat it, to close the gap and provide comprehensive care to all patients. Outside of the healthcare system, federal and state initiatives should take place to provide funding and activities to identify and address social needs.

Raising Awareness of SDOHs in Mesothelioma

Social determinants of health should be addressed in and out of the healthcare system to positively impact the overall survival rate for mesothelioma patients. One way we can address SDOHs when it comes to mesothelioma treatment is to provide accessible and affordable healthcare services to everyone, regardless of their socioeconomic status or location. This includes improving access to screening and early diagnosis, as well as ensuring that all patients have access to high-quality treatment and care.

We can also focus on mesothelioma prevention by raising awareness about the dangers of asbestos exposure and promoting safer work environments. This can include implementing regulations and guidelines for handling asbestos in the workplace, as well as providing education and training for workers and employers.

If you are a mesothelioma patient worried about your social determinants of health, we can help. Our patient advocate team has the resources to connect you with top mesothelioma doctors, regardless of your location. Connect with our mesothelioma patient advocacy team today.

Last updated on April 12th, 2023 at 01:50 pm

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