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Mesothelioma Cancer in Black Patients: What’s the Probability?

mesothelioma cancer, asbestos exposure, mesothelioma in black patients

When a family member has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma cancer, it’s normal to begin thinking about every aspect of the cancer and how it relates to your loved one.

You may think about any or all of these questions:

• what caused it?

• what made him more susceptible to it?

• does age or gender have any influence on him getting mesothelioma?

• did ethnicity play any role in developing malignant mesothelioma?

• does the time of asbestos exposure at work affect the diagnosis timing?

Other articles on this site will cover some of these questions but this article will focus on the role of ethnicity for Black patients diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma cancer.

Question of Ethnicity Covered by Mount Sinai Medical Center Doctors

In 2015, doctors at the Department of Thoracic Surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City published a medical report on the results of their investigation into this topic.

They reviewed the cases of 13,734 patients in a database of malignant pleural mesothelioma patients, and found that 688 of them were black. The rest of them – 13,046 were white. The other types of data that were recorded included age, sex, diagnosis year, cancer stage, the type of cancer they had, whether or not they had radiation, and vital status.

The blacks had a low incidence of mesothelioma – only 0.5 cases per 100,000 blacks, as compared to 1.1 cases per 100,000 for whites.

What Happens When Blacks Do Get Mesothelioma Cancer?

Interestingly, the black patients were very much different than the average white patient with mesothelioma. The average white patient is a male in his 50s-60s and diagnosed with a later stage of the mesothelioma cancer. On the other hand, the black patients were more often female, younger, and their diagnosis was that of a later stage, advanced stage of mesothelioma cancer. The blacks were also less likely to have surgery, whereas the whites had it much more often.

Any patient with mesothelioma – whether he or she was black or white – that had surgery had a better chance of survival than those who did not have surgery.

If someone was diagnosed at a younger age and was white, not black, they had a better chance of living longer with the disease. If someone was diagnosed with early-stage cancer, it was predictive of longer survival but not amongst black patients.

The doctors concluded from all this that black patients might improve their survival if they had surgery for the mesothelioma and also had early-stage disease.

Let’s Go Beyond the Statistics

If you’re reading this because you have a family member with malignant mesothelioma cancer, knowing statistics is interesting and can give you an idea of what others did knowingly or unknowingly to help or hurt their condition. However, statistics are based on an average of what happened to a whole population of people, not an individual.

What every cancer patient needs more than anything is hope, according to Ann-Louise Johnson, IFMCP, RN, and author of the book, The DNA of Hope. She’s worked with hundreds of cancer patients over the years.

Hope is not something you’ll necessarily get from a statistic.

She states, “Statistics are bullies. Mortality rates are passive aggressive. Reject their diabolical claws. Numbers can never predict your lifespan…“

“Hope gathers the health forces at the cellular basecamp in your body and gives instructions to these forces on how to save you. Hope saves. Hope naturally reaches toward the future; while DNA naturally reaches into the past. When we network the two, we engage the power to create the life we want using eight genomic triggers: support, motivation, food, motion, emotion, breath, sleep, and resilience. Hope is the lynchpin between what we’ve already had and what we want. ”

More and more physicians are turning their attention towards their patients’ habits and addressing them in order to help them live longer lives and reverse diseases. Of the list of genomic triggers for hope to take over one’s life and restore health, food and sleep are the top two.

Many functional medicine doctors are advising their patients to improve their diet and get a night of good sleep, and find that when they do, many of their symptoms improve. A better diet gives fuel to the mitochondria to work best, and also restores nutrient stores, eliminating vitamin and mineral deficiencies that make it easy for diseases to progress. With greater energy levels and fewer symptoms, it’s easier to feel better and see the bright side of life.

With a night of good sleep each and every night, circadian rhythms normalize and the body restores itself on many levels. This also results in greater energy levels and fewer symptoms – and more hope, more often.

The shift in medicine today is going away from treating diseases as if they were only physical and incorporating more ‘wholeness’ into the lifestyle. This results in transformation.

If you’re looking for more information for a loved one with mesothelioma cancer – a disease with a harsh death sentence – don’t neglect the wholeness that your loved one needs in the next 12 months. Check out the nurse’s book and find out how much transformation really can occur in your loved one’s life with hope.

You never know what could happen… your loved one might be the one that the doctors are writing about because he or she had a spontaneous regression. And this alone will give doctors AND patients hope!

Hope is your body’s backup generator that will fight for you till death. Hope believes in you. Hope is stubborn. Hope is loyal. Your body is the single greatest doctor on earth, and hope is one of its directors.

Here’s the Hope Creed:

Hope is bigger than the tallest mountain,

Yet small enough to live in me.

Able to calm the winds of sickness, and still the raging sea.

Hope is a pillar of sunshine, and no respecter of man.

Hope is fair, speaking childlike terms everyone can understand.

Hope reaches eight times into the soul.

Hope warms blood once cold.

And though others surrender to disease misunderstood,

Hope never gives ground, seeking the best over the good.

Hope will never touch a path previously trod,

But creates for the next traveler a manageable sod.

I believe in Hope.

Hope disrupts, and finishes the race.

Hope is committed, and maintains feverish pace.

So if in a pit you ever lay, your brow bloodied from the fight of the day, Hope will carry your load when you’ve done all you can do.

And at the moment you want to give up on Hope,

Hope will never give up on you.


Taioli, E., et al. Frequency of surgery in black patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. Dis Markers 2015;2015:282145. Doi: 10.1155/2015/282145. Epub 2015 Apr 30.

Johnson, Ann-Louise, IFMCP, RN. The DNA of Hope. Christiana, PA. 2018.

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