Mesothelioma & Coronavirus
If you have any advice or supportive comments for fellow mesothelioma patients or their families please post them on our social media pages or tag @MesoUK in your post. If you are unsure how to do this please forward to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the information line.
Stay safe and please remember we are here for you and will do all we can to maintain our support throughout this challenging time.
Information for mesothelioma patients regarding COVID-19
If you are a mesothelioma patient or a family member of a patient, with concerns or questions about coronavirus Mesothelioma UK recommends the Cancer Research UK guidance. It includes frequently asked questions and useful links for further information and advice.
In light of the current Covid-19 “Shielding” policy, most follow up appointments have been moved to telephone calls rather than face to face. Here is a checklist of things that will likely be discussed during a telephone follow up appointment. This has been prepared for those people living with Mesothelioma but could be easily adapted for other cancers.
Below are some frequently asked questions, including those asked and answered in our Facebook live videos, but please contact the information line on 0800 169 2409 if you have further questions.
Drug treatment news
As of Monday 3 August 2020, NHS England has updated the medicines list in line with Covid19 risk factor analysis. As part of this review, NHS England, alongside the Chemotherapy Reference Group have looked at a number of drugs for different cancers which are felt to have a low risk of suppressing the immune system. This is important in light of the Covid19 pandemic as it helps the NHS treat cancer patients whilst minimising the risk of contracting Covid19 due to a compromised immune system.
One of the drugs on the interim register was nivolumab which is an immunotherapy drug that has shown benefit in a number of cancers including mesothelioma. The MAPS2 trial and Checkmate 743 trial showed clinical benefits for mesothelioma patients who were treated with nivolumab alone or nivolumab and ipiliumimab.
Nivolumab will now be available to patients on the NHS as a second line treatment for patients who have already had chemotherapy as their first line treatment and who have progression of their mesothelioma. Up to Monday 3 August, mesothelioma patients could only access this drug as a private patient, meaning many patients missed out on this potentially beneficial treatment. The NHS interim guidance lasts until April 2021 which means that a greater number of patients will have access to this drug.
Mesothelioma UK is delighted with this announcement from NHS England in light of the very limited second line treatment options that are available for mesothelioma patients. Unfortunately, patients in Scotland and Wales will not have access to nivolumab yet and we will wait to see if NHS Scotland and NHS Wales follow NHS England.
Video interviews and discussions between those in the mesothelioma community to give you a better insight into what is happening during this pandemic.
Lorraine and Mary Hesdorfer
Mary Hesdorffer is a Nurse Practitioner and Executive Director of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, based in the USA, which is focused on supporting those with mesothelioma and funding research to find a cure.
Lorraine and Tim Stokes
Mesothelioma UK's Head of Nursing, Lorraine Creech, talks to Tim Stokes, mesothelioma patient and fundraiser.
Read more of Tim's story.
During the period of self-isolation caused by Covid-19, it is important that mesothelioma patients (and anyone else!) keep active as best they can.
Julie Roberts has very kindly made some videos to show some simple exercises.
Julie is a Pilates teacher and lost her dad to mesothelioma in 2014 (read her story here). Based in Scotland, Julie has been a passionate supporter of Mesothelioma UK and a relentless campaigner to raise awareness of the disease.