Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a cancer of the mesothelial lining of the pleura that has traditionally been associated with asbestos exposure in an industrial setting. Asbestos usage has fortunately been banned or phased out in most industrialized countries resulting in its decline in countries such as the United States. Despite this, MPM continues to place significant burden on its affected patients resulting in overall poor prognosis and survival. Questions arise as to what factors, especially what health disparities, contribute to the disease's dismal prognosis. This article will present a narrative review of recent literature that identifies the impact age, sex, race, access to medical centers, and economics have on the diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of MPM. As will be discussed, research has shown that factors including younger age, female sex, non-white race, private insurance, Medicare, and higher income have been associated with better survival in MPM. Whereas older age, male sex, white race, lack of insurance, and lower income are associated with worse survival. The identification of these and other health disparities related to MPM may allow for future research, clinical guidelines, and policies to be implemented to decrease the burden health disparities create in the diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of patients with MPM.
Keywords: Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM); health disparities.
2021 Journal of Thoracic Disease. All rights reserved.