Mesothelioma Surgery for Elderly Patients

nurse-reading-to-elderly-patient

Age Is Just a Number: Mesothelioma Surgery for Elderly Patients

Guest Posy by: Devin Golden on Mar 5, 2020

In almost any explanation of mesothelioma treatment options, there is a clause. The routes available depends on numerous factors, one of which is age. This clause — that age, among other factors, could limit treatment — is usually specific to just one option: surgery.

A study published in the Annals of Surgical Oncology suggests that age might be the most often-used factor when determining if a patient is eligible for mesothelioma surgery.

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer for which there are already limited treatments. Removing the most effective one just because of a person’s age? We at Mesothelioma Guide hope surgeons and doctors consider far more than just that number.

In Review: Mesothelioma Treatment for Elderly Patients

Elderly couple holding handsThe study involved examining the National Cancer Database for all patients at least 80 years old with recently diagnosed nonmetastatic malignant pleural mesothelioma. In other words, the patients’ disease is in its early stages and hasn’t spread to vital organs — but it could, and likely will, if untreated.

The researchers found 4,526 patients who met the criteria and looked into the treatment approach used for each. According to the study’s results, which was published on the U.S. National Library of Medicine:

  • Just 2% of the patients had surgery (likely pleurectomy with decortication) plus chemotherapy
  • Around 13% had just surgery
  • 22% had only chemotherapy
  • 63% were “observed,” meaning they didn’t receive any curative treatment

The average age of pleural mesothelioma patients is 72 — the disease is more likely to impact the elderly than many other forms of cancer — and restricting these patients to chemotherapy or nothing is usually an early death sentence. The median survival times were:

  • 4.1 months for those observed
  • 9.5 months for those receiving just chemotherapy
  • 12.2 months for those undergoing surgery and chemotherapy

By comparison, the figures for pleural mesothelioma patients under 80 years old were:

  • 17% only underwent surgery or had surgery and chemotherapy (median survival of 17.7 months)
  • 47% had just chemotherapy (median survival of 12.2 months)
  • 36% were just observed (median survival of 6.6 months)

More to the Story for Mesothelioma Treatment

The argument against elderly patients having surgery — or even chemotherapy — is that their bodies may not be strong enough. Other complications may arise due to surgery. However, not every 81- or 82-year-old patient has the same health. One may have poor nutrition or other health concerns. Another could be a former marathon runner who eats healthy and exercises regularly.

While the study says the 90-day mortality rate for those having mesothelioma surgery was 28.5%, this figure does not consider the quality of patient selection. As author Justin Karush says on the Society of Surgical Oncology website, “When selecting patients with mesothelioma for surgery, it is paramount to consider the ability to offer adjuvant treatment.”

Additionally, a survival time enhanced by 200% — the difference, according to the study, between no curative treatment and surgery plus chemotherapy — could be enough reward to take the risk.

Quality of Life Due to Surgery

Pensive elderly manFor people with peritoneal mesothelioma, the benefits of surgery are just as great — if not greater. A study published in the Annals of Surgical Oncology reviewed the quality of life in 46 patients who underwent cytoreductive surgery with heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC). The median survival of these patients was 3.4 years, and 36.5% lived for at least five years.

By comparison, only 18% of peritoneal patients in general live for at least five years, and the life expectancy of elderly patients with this disease is at most two years. While there are similar risks associated with elderly patients undergoing cytoreductive surgery with HIPEC, the increased survival time is relevant.

So is the increased quality of life. The study suggests that patients who underwent surgery experienced improved emotional well-being and social functioning, fewer emotional issues and less pain. The study concluded, “(Quality of life) returned to baseline or improved from baseline between three months and one year following surgery. Despite the risks associated with this operation, patients may tolerate HIPEC well and have good overall (quality of life) postoperatively.”

Unfortunately, many elderly mesothelioma patients will never get the chance to enjoy that improved quality of life since the general assumption is they should stay away from the operating room. That’s a discouraging one in the medical industry, and one we at Mesothelioma Guide hope changes going forward.

Note to Mesothelioma Patients and Their Loved Ones

If you’re a newly diagnosed mesothelioma patient, we are on your side and will do anything possible to help you through this difficult time. Most importantly, we can help you find the best treatment available.

Our patient advocate and registered nurse, Jenna Campagna, is the No. 1 resource for learning more about mesothelioma. She also can refer you to a mesothelioma specialist with a track record of success in helping patients live long past the average prognosis. Email her [email protected] to begin your path to recovery.

 

Devin-Golden

About the Writer, Devin Golden

Devin Golden is the content writer for Mesothelioma Guide. He produces mesothelioma-related content on various mediums, including the Mesothelioma Guide website and social media channels. Devin’s objective is to translate complex information regarding mesothelioma into informative, easily absorbable content to help patients and their loved ones.

How to Help Someone With Depression

It is a fact of life that everyone has times in their life when things are not as good as they could be, times when people feel down and miserable. For most of us however, times such as these are transient, periods that we quickly come through before emerging from the dark times and into the light of ‘normality’ once again.

For a significant (and growing) number of people, their reality is unfortunately not like this. It is one where the dark times represent the norm, because they suffer varying degrees of unhappiness and anguish on an almost daily basis, and just getting through each day is a significant challenge for them.

The degree to which people can feel this way differs from person to person, but for those who suffer the most, genuine depression is the reality of the life that they face every day.

There are many support services for Depression, just web search in your local area. Here are links to 3 we have in Australia

Beyond Blue Support Service

Last year more than 150,000 people in Australia contacted Beyond about their concerns – both big and small – and you can too. All calls and chats are one-on-one with a trained mental health professional, and completely confidential. Although we may ask for your first name and some general details, you can let us know if you’d like to remain anonymous.
See link contact details:
https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/get-immediate-support

Fact Sheets

Blue Dog Institute Mental Health Fact Sheets

https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/about-us/publications-and-resources/fact-sheets

SANE Australia Fact Sheets & Guides

https://www.sane.org/information-stories/facts-and-guides

The Pleural Mesothelioma Center

Pleural Mesothelioma

Pleural mesothelioma is an asbestos-related cancer that forms in the lining around the lungs. It is the most common type of the disease, accounting for about 75 percent of mesothelioma cases. Treating pleural mesothelioma at an earlier stage improves prognosis.

Asbestos exposure is the main cause of pleural mesothelioma. The heavier the asbestos exposure and the longer a person is exposed throughout their lifetime, the higher the risk for mesothelioma.

Occupational Asbestos Exposure

Up until the 1980s, many workers sustained long-term, high-dose asbestos exposures in occupations at contaminated worksites such as refineries, construction sites and power plants. These types of longer-term asbestos exposure placed these employees at risk for developing pleural mesothelioma.

What Are the Symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma?

Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma may be mistaken for less serious conditions. This makes them easy to ignore or misdiagnose. Early symptoms include wheezing, coughing, nonspecific chest pain and shortness of breath with physical exertion.

See this resource to help seniors suffering from mesothelioma and their caregivers find free care and support.. http://pleuralmesothelioma.com/cancer/prognosis/

What Is Hyperhidrosis?

Hyperhidrosis is a condition that causes excessive sweating

Woman Perspiring  Research shows that about 4% of the population has symptoms which are typical to hyperhidrosis. The symptoms which include sweaty face, hands, feet and palms can be a reason of embarrassment and social issues. Everyday existence can be challenging for a person suffering from this condition and physical proximity could be challenging. Yet, this condition can be cured and all these issues can be easily avoided.

What causes Hyperhidrosis? 

Hyperdidrosis is a medical condition that needs serious and focused handling and it will not go away if you think that it is something that can be ignored.

The hypothalamus – a part of the brain – is responsible for all sweat related functions. The sweat glands, which are responsible for producing sweat, are triggered by the hypothalamus which sends signals to it via nerves. In normal circumstances, a person would sweat when there is warmth or when the person undergoes any physical activity. As opposed to this, the sweat glands of a person suffering from hyperhidrosis produces surplus of sweat always.

Types of Hyperhidrosis

There are two main categories into which hyperhidrosis can be divided into – primary hyperhidrosis or focal hyperhidrosis and secondary or generalized hyperhidrosis.

  • Primary or Focal Hyperhidrosis. Suffers of primary or focal hyperhidrosis complain of excessive sweating around the arm area, hands, feet and even the face. This kind of hyperhidrosis is triggered by problems in the nervous system, hence the sweat glands end up producing excessive sweat.
  • Secondary of Generalized Hyperhidrosis. As the name suggests, this kind of hyperhidrosis causes excessive sweating across the whole body. This condition results from some health conditions such as metabolic disorders, neurological disorders and menopause.

Bad Smell

Although primarily a physical burden, hyperhidrosis can deteriorate quality of life from a psychological, emotional, and social perspective. It has been called by some ‘the silent handicap’.

How to treat hyperhidrosis?

The good news is that hyperhidrosis can be treated. Simple lifestyle changes like using antiperspirants , wearing comfortable and loose clothing, avoiding clothing like nylon, lycra and a diet which excludes spicy food can cure mild cases of hyperhidrosis. Keeping yourself clean and following simple hygiene norms can offer respite to the condition.

The odds change however if a person is suffering from severe hyperhidrosis. This happens when a person is sweating excessively. One common treatment process is electrical stimulation or Iontophoresis which consists of approximately four sessions per week and a maintenance treatment every four weeks. This treatment albeit has its limitations.

Botox injections – which is considered as a treatment might be successful in reducing armpit sweating. Botox simply stops the sweat glands form producing sweat and hence less sweat but it comes with associate side effects like freezing muscles in the injected area. And since the effect wears off in a few hours making the treatment repetitive.

Besides these two treatment options surgery and medication can also be considered and the best option can only be decided upon consultation with a doctor.

A long-term solution for hyperhidrosis should address the internal causes of excessive sweating by tackling all hyperhidrosis contributing factors. Only by controlling the nutritional, hormonal, psychological and environmental triggers of hyperhidrosis, using a multidimensional and holistic approach to healing you can reverse the “internal excessive sweating environment”- the only, safe, natural and effective way you could ever achieve lasting hyperhidrosis freedom.

sweat-miracle

This article is based on the book, “Sweat Miracle” by Miles Dawson, a real hyperhidrosis sufferer. Miles is an author, researcher, nutritionist and health consultant who dedicated his life to creating the ultimate Hyperhidrosis solution guaranteed to permanently reverse the root cause of excessive sweating and naturally and dramatically improve the overall quality of your life,  without the use prescription medication and without any surgical procedures.

Learn more by visiting his website (Click here)

Disclosure: The owner of this blog may be compensated for providing an opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics.

Paying for Alzheimer’s Care

5 Ways to Pay for Alzheimer’s Care

DementiaPhotoStevenHWG

Every 65 seconds a senior is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease— that means more than 5 million Americans over the age of 65 live with this devastating disease. These seniors, and their families, are managing care for a chronic condition that can be moderate or severe, and progresses over time. That’s why there is such a high emotional cost with Alzheimer’s — and a high financial cost, too. In fact, the Alzheimer’s Association reports that for all people diagnosed in the U.S., the disease costs an estimated $277 billion a year. More than $60 billion of that comes directly out of the pockets of patients.

Many individuals pay an annual average of $56,800 for the treatment and care associated with Alzheimer’s. Medicare or private insurance covers about 40 percent of those costs, which leaves people struggling to cover the remaining 60 percent. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, things might seem frightening or hopeless, wondering how you’ll deal with the cost of care. It’s important you talk to your family, insurance plan and healthcare provider, but, in the meantime, here are a few ideas about ways you can cover that 60 percent without sacrificing the quality of your care.

  • Medicare Advantage Plans: If you are relying solely on traditional Medicare to help with Alzheimer’s costs, you might be footing the bill for a lot of services. For instance, there are gaps in coverage when it comes to prescription drugs, in-home care and rehabilitative services. Be clear on what your plan does and does not cover so you can look into supplemental plans that offer more assistance.
  • Tap into Your Equity: After a lifetime of living and working, you have assets you can dip into to help cover the cost of unexpected expenses that can pop up with Alzheimer’s care. For example, you can sell a life insurance policy, cash out a 401k or take out a reverse mortgage on your home. We’ve all heard horror stories associated with reverse mortgages, which is why it’s critical you do thorough research to find trustworthy and reputable reverse mortgage lenders that can assist you with the process.
  • End-of-Life Insurance Options: It’s not uncommon for bills and debt to pile up while managing Alzheimer’s care; something you don’t want to leave behind for your family to deal with. You can purchase additional insurance to help protect their financial future. For instance, burial insurance can not only cover the cost of funeral arrangements, but many options even cover other outstanding debt.
  • Government Assistance: In most cases, Alzheimer’s disease qualifies as a disability, which means you may qualify for government assistance programs like Supplemental Security Income or, for those under 65, Social Security Disability Income. Many states also offer caregiver support programs to help offset the costs of hiring in-home help.
  • Clinical Trials: Participating in a clinical trial is a personal decision that not everyone is ready to make. Since Alzheimer’s is a degenerative cognitive disorder, a person in a more severe version of the disease may not be ethically able to clearly make a decision. However, for those that can, and do, clinical trials can provide people with low or no cost access to leading healthcare facilities. Plus you’ll be contributing to the future of Alzheimer’s care. There are a lot of risks and side effects to consider, so be sure to weigh your options.

Right now, you might be feeling overwhelmed and alone. Navigating the complex world of planning and paying for Alzheimer’s care can be hard, but it is not impossible. Whether trying to find coverage for yourself or a family member, there are options out there that can make good care much more accessible.

Sleep and Aging: Guide for Seniors

Understand common sleep problems seniors face and how to treat them

sleep and aging

There’s a common misconception that your sleep matters less as you age, but in fact, the inverse is true. No matter where you lie on the age spectrum you should be conscious of improving your sleeping habits for your holistic health.

For older adults, this is especially true. Your sleeping habits will naturally change as you age, so it’s important that you remain aware of those shifts and understand the best ways to protect your sleep quality.

Seniors may experience changes in becoming more sleepy during the day, being ready for bed earlier in the evenings, waking up earlier, or having trouble achieving deep sleep. Although these changes can be normal, suffering from disturbed sleeping patterns or other symptoms of insomnia are issues that should not be dismissed as a side effect of aging.

Read the full article here: https://www.mattressadvisor.com/sleep-and-aging/

Tips to Avoid Getting Overwhelmed by the Cost of Alzheimer’s Care

AlzheimersPostImage
Image via Pixabay

From Marie Villeza – elderimpact.org

If you’re overwhelmed by the Cost of Alzheimer’s Care, you’re far from alone. There are roughly 5.7 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease, and that affects their friends and family members struggling to give them the care they need as the patient struggles with memory loss and confusion.

There is help available, but it comes with a large price tag, as assisted-living costs have risen to more than $3,500 per month on average. Even the less-expensive options require careful planning, and those are only viable in the early stages of the condition. You’re in for a battle, though there are ways to ensure your loved one is looked after well into their golden years.

Research Cost-Effective Options

It’s often possible to save money by exploring home care, though this isn’t always possible during the later stages of the disease. To determine whether it’s cheaper, the researchers at Paying for Senior Care have developed a calculator to put an accurate price on total services based on factors including the number hours of medical and personal assistance required per week — as as well as rent, utilities, and food — all of which can be added up and compared with the cost of assisted-living facilities in your area.

Find the Right Caregivers

To choose a quality home care provider, begin by taking referrals from the patient’s doctor as well as friends and family. Once you’ve found individuals or agencies that offer the services you need, check their qualifications and interview the caregivers to gauge their level of experience and whether they’re the right fit. Another decisive factor is how innovative the caregivers are in their use of communication and monitoring technology. You’ll need to make similar inquiries when choosing an assisted-living or memory care facility.

Tap Savings and Investments

One way to pay for these services is by paying the money yourself out of savings and investments. As for the latter, there are a number of strategies that offer relatively low risk with steady returns over the long term. A writer with CNN Money recommends a balanced and diversified approach by putting your money in a total US stock market index fund and a total US bond market index fund. The payouts could cover retirement expenses as well as the care needed for Alzheimer’s, or at least help fill in the gaps.

Play the Insurance Game

The ideal policy would be long-term care insurance, but this is unavailable if the patient has already been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. If that’s not the case, research plans while you have the chance. Other finance options via insurance include living benefits, which are payouts on life insurance while the policy-holder is still alive, with the money made available for medical expenses such as an assisted-living facility or nursing home.

Use Medicare and Related Programs

Medicare only covers skilled care for up to 100 days, but there are means of paying for long-term care. Medicaid covers a wide variety of custodial services but only for those who fall below a certain income threshold. It may help to enroll in Medicare Advantage Plans, which are offered by private insurers and are eligible for those enrolled in Medicare A and B; you can sign up over the phone, online, or via a form provided by a plan sponsor.

Contact Charitable Organizations

There are a number of charities that are ready to step in and offer help in addition to their fundraising activities to fund Alzheimer’s research. The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, for example, provides a variety of social services, including support groups for caregivers and family members, while the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation dedicates its resources to physical therapy, brain fitness workshops, and caregiver support in Long Island, New York.

Though the going may be rough, being prepared mentally and financially will make living with Alzheimer’s disease a little easier. There will be time for you to enjoy with your loved one despite their condition, knowing they are getting the care they need.

 

Rapid Rise in Thyroid Disorders

WHY The Rapid Rise in Thyroid Disorders?

It seems now more than ever that as a society we are getting sicker, and more stressed.

Despite overall improvements in living standards, and technological innovations we are not creating communities that allow people to thrive.

Something is going on that can perhaps be best summed up this way.

There’s been a radical shift in the way we eat due to industrialization of our food supply, we are exposed to an overwhelming amount of toxins, and for the most part family and community structures have broken down.
Along with overwhelming stress these factors are taking a serious toll on our emotional and physical health.
The thyroid is particularly vulnerable to disruption by toxic foods, industrial pollutants, and stress. In effect, this small fragile gland is the ‘canary in the coal mine’.

We need to find our way back, to finding a better way to live…and THRIVE.

Updated in 2018…

The-Natural-Thyroid-DietThis guide that has been helping a lot of people with thyroid problems, The Natural Thyroid Diet, a holistic Guide to Living Well, Living Vibrantly.

It goes way beyond being just another diet eBook as it includes a lot of new information, including the real reasons WHY we are seeing an epidemic of thyroid disorders and combines a natural healing approach with the latest scientific research.