Understanding Mesothelioma Treatment
Mesothelioma treatment relates relieving or curing the deadly disease called mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is serious disease that affects the lining of lungs, abdominal organs or heart. Mesothelioma can be of two types, either benign or malignant. Mesothelioma treatment, for an individual suffering from benign mesothelioma, is surgery. However, in case of malignant mesothelioma scientists could not find any established mesothelioma treatment to cure the patient fully.
Types of Mesothelioma Treatment
Mesothelioma treatment options available today are radiation, chemotherapy, radical surgery and/or combination of all these treatments. During surgery, either a part of tumor or the whole tumor is removed. In some cases, a portion of the normal tissue surrounding the area is also removed along with the tumor.
Mesothelioma treatment, in which the doctors try to cure the patient with drugs, is known as chemotherapy. As the mesothelioma cancer is a rare disease, very little information is available regarding the effects of different drugs on different patients. Adriamycm, (doxorubicin), Cytoxan, (cyclophosphamide), 5-fluorouracil and 5-azacytidine are some of the drugs that have shown good results and a response rate of 0 to 35 % when tried on mesothelioma patients. Some other effective drugs for mesothelioma treatment are cisplatin, high dose methotrexate, interferon, anthracycline analogues and vinblastine. The National Cancer Institute is sponsoring further studies the effectiveness of these and other drugs by funding many clinical centers.
Radiation is another option of mesothelioma treatment that is more helpful in reducing the pain rather than curing the disease itself. Because of the severity of the disease, standard dose of 6,000 rads of radiation has very little effect on mesothelioma patients. In limited cases, some benefit is observed when patient is treated with aggressive high dose radiation. Use of radioactive compounds on diseased tissue has also shown some positive results with the individuals diagnosed early on. Patients of pleural mesothelioma survived for over 24 months when radioactive colloidal gold (Au 198) was placed between the two pleural membranes. Scientists are hopeful that radioactive chromic phosphate, p32 can be used as an effective mesothelioma treatment. This might increase the survival period of patients suffering from peritoneal mesothelioma.
Like the treatment of other cancers, mesothelioma treatment also has its side effects. Nausea and vomiting are some minor problems associated with radiation therapy and chemotherapy that could be controlled with medicines. However, suppression of bone marrow is a serious short-term side effect that may cause WBC, RBC and platelets counts to go down. Such patients may become susceptible to bleeding and infection and may require antibiotic therapy or any other supportive care.
Mesothelioma treatment can be a very expensive and lengthy procedure. However, the patients suffering from mesothelioma cancers can seek compensation for mesothelioma treatments. They can file lawsuits against the individuals or organizations responsible for causing asbestos exposure.
Pericardial Mesothelioma Treatment
Pericardial Mesothelioma is an extremely difficult cancer to treat and presently, all treatment methods used have a poor success rate. The chances of a patients survival depend largely on how early and how aggressively the cancer is treated. If pericardial mesothelioma is treated when it has fully matured and developed then the chances of survival are very slim and the prognosis for a patient could be only a couple of months. The latency period of pericardial mesothelioma (30 50 years), and its symptoms which are ordinary of other more common diseases such as pneumonia, make it extremely difficult to diagnose and therefore difficult to treat in its early stages. In this way, a lot of pericardial mesothelioma treatments do not aim to cure patients but instead focus on reducing the symptoms.
Before a patient is treated, a doctor will evaluate him or her, and afterwards decide which treatment method is most suitable for the patients situation. The patients age, medical history, general well being and even weight are taken into account before the doctor will decide which of the three treatments are most appropriate. These treatments are surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
There are two different types of surgery that can be used one of which is called aggressive surgery. This is the most dangerous of all the treatment methods available and only the fittest of people are deemed strong enough to undergo this. Aggressive surgery consists of removing large chunks of cancerous cells from inside the patient. This is extremely dangerous in the case of pericardial mesothelioma seeing as the cancerous cells are in extremely close proximity to vital organs such as the heart and lungs. Extremely skilled surgeons are needed to perform this operation.
The second type of surgery is palliative procedures and this type of surgery is used only for the purpose of reducing the symptoms of the cancer. Palliative procedures are performed when pericardial mesothelioma is in its latest stages and is practically impossible to cure.
Chemotherapy is the most well known cure of cancers and involves using drugs to kill of cancerous cells. However, many of the drugs used do not have a high success rate although researchers are discovering new combinations of drugs that work more effectively. Many pharmaceutical companies are also endeavouring to find new drugs. Researchers predict that they will soon discover a drug with a significantly improved success rate.
This form of treatment uses doses of radiation to kill cancerous cells. However, in the case of pericardial mesothelioma this is extremely difficult because as well as damaging cancerous cells, the radiation also damages vital organs such as the heart and lungs. This makes using radiation therapy most effectively extremely difficult. The dose of radiation is usually too weak to make a significant impact on curing pericardial mesothelioma.
Dual therapy is just a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. This consists of using surgery to remove the majority of the cancer cells and then using chemotherapy and radiation therapy to kill off any remaining cells. This has proved to be an effective treatment method however also very dangerous. Only the fittest young people are able to undergo this treatment.
There are several methods of treatment for mesothelioma although none of these have a high success rate. In general, the chances of curing a mesothelioma patient depends on how much the cancer has developed and matured when treated. If tackled aggressively in its early stages, there is a good chance of survival. Due to the difficulty of diagnosing mesothelioma in its early stages, many mesothelioma treatments focus on improving the quality of life for patients.
Before a patient is treated upon, a doctor will decide what the best course of treatment is by considering the patients age, medical history, general well being and even weight. From here, the doctor will decide which of the three most common treatments are most suited to the patients condition. These treatments are surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Surgery comes in two different types. Aggressive surgery is treatment which aims to gain long term control against the cancer and palliative procedures which aims to just relieve the patient of symptoms.
Aggressive surgery involves removing the pleura, the lung, the diaphragm and the pericardium. This procedure is known as extra pleural pneumonectomy. The aim of this is to remove as much of the tumour as possible without harming the patient. However, this is a very risky type of surgery and the chances are high of patient fatality within a month. Due to this, only young, fit individuals are referred to this form of treatment. Palliative procedures involve removing just the pleura in order to control the symptoms of the cancer. This is performed when mesothelioma is in an advanced form and is impossible to cure.
This is the most commonly known cure of cancer. Chemotherapy uses drugs to treat mesothelioma although many of these drugs have a poor success rate on patients. Combinations of drugs are often used to improve their effect. Some of these combinations have proved to be effective. Chemotherapy of mesothelioma is being improved regularly as research labs and pharmaceutical companies are discovering new and more effective drugs.
Radiation therapy uses radiation to kill the tumour which mesothelioma creates. However, this procedure is extremely difficult because of where the tumour grows. Due to the closeness of the tumour and many vital internal organs such as the heart and lungs, doctors have to be very careful as to the doses of radiation they use. Lower radiation doses can be used however this lowers its effectiveness.
This is often used and is just a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy combined. Surgery removes the majority of the tumour cells while chemotherapy and radiation therapy work on removing the remainder. This is an effective method and also lessens the symptoms of the cancer.
Mesothelioma treatment is certainly an aid to the ailment
Mesothelioma is mainly caused due to contact with asbestos, which has zeolite. When inhaled, the asbestos fibers reach the pleural layer of our lungs and damages the mesothelial cells. When consumed, the asbestos fibers get to our abdominal cavity and cause peritoneal mesothelioma that can spread to the other parts of the body.
However, it takes the disease 20 to 50 years to attain a full shape and by then the average life of that person shrinks.
The determining factors that needs to be taken into account before the commencement of the mesothelioma treatment are:
– The site of the cancer
– The stage of the disease
– The patient’s physical condition
The usual types of treatment for mesothelioma are surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. However, often a combination of these treatments is also used.
The primary steps
As the symptoms do not surface during the incubation period of the disease, it is a hindrance to the medical peoples in their diagnosis. The tests, prior to surgery, that are done regarding mesothelioma treatment are:
– Blood test to check the level of blood cells
– A CT or MRI scan to see the area the cancer had extended
– A lungs test to calculate the pumping power of the lungs
– A lung’s perfusion test to check the flow of blood to the lungs
– An Echocardiogram to see if the cancer had reached the heart
A good doctor-patient relationship really helps the patient to remove the fear of operation, which is to be undergone with an empty stomach, followed by TED stockings and a good anesthesia.
An intravenous infusion, a drainage tube, an oxygen mask and few similar devices form the postoperative mesothelioma treatment.
A chest drain tube helps the damaged lungs to pump in air after the removal of pleura. Pain that starts due to the healing of the damaged nerve cells is somewhat subdued via painkillers.
To end with, breathing and chest exercises come under mesothelioma treatment that accelerate the recovery.
Chemotherapy as mesothelioma treatment
It involves a variety of medications that are used to kill the cancerous cells. Chemotherapy is often administered along with radiation therapy and is considered an effective mesothelioma treatment.
Side effects of Chemotherapy
The side effects of chemotherapy are the decrease in red and white blood cells and platelets leading to anemia, loss of immunity, nausea. Bone marrow along with the cells of stomach, hair, skin and mouth suffer from chemotherapy. However, drugs called growth factors are prescribed that aids to get rid of the above side effects to a great extent.
Radiation therapy, the emitting of high-energy rays to damage the DNA of the cancerous cells, both externally and internally, is a practical mesothelioma treatment relieving the patients from this fretfully fatal disease. It can be applied to reduce the tumor before operating and can even go along Chemotherapy.
The radiating rays destroy the damaged cells along with normal cells; but radiation therapy offers more than it takes.
However, you should seek the guidance of radiation oncologist who has a better understanding of the therapeutic process. It is costly and at the same time a powerful mesothelioma treatment.
New age ushers new kinds of mesothelioma treatments
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) via various clinical tests and trials are trying to achieve a better solution that reflects new lights regarding mesothelioma treatments.
– Gene therapy involves the replacement of the living cells of the patient’s body by injecting a customized gene that fights the disease by providing a fresh supply of cells.
– Immunotherapy is the process of exciting your own immune system so that it fight backs the disease from the inside.
– Photodynamic Therapy unites a photosensitizing means with a light source reacting with oxygen, releasing certain chemicals to obliterate the melanoma cells.
How do you treat pericardial mesothelioma
Of all the cancers caused by asbestos dust (mesothelioma), pericardial mesothelioma is the most rare, accounting for a fraction of all cases (5%). It is a cancer that grows on the pericardium (the lining of the heart). This is a delicate ‘film’, and any infection on the pericardium can have deadly consequences.
Once an individual has been diagnosed with pericardial mesothelioma they are offered three different treatment options. These are radiation, surgery and chemotherapy. Pericardial mesothelioma is extremely difficult to treat (due to the intricacies involved in removing the tumours from the pericardium), and a patient’s chances of survival are slim. All three methods have a poor success rate mainly due to the fact that pericardial mesothelioma is detected in the mature stages of development. (The reason for this is because in the early stages of the cancer the symptoms resemble those of diseases such as pneumonia). The prognosis for a patient undergoing treatment at this point (mature stage) is usually less than a year.
Before treatment, the patient requires a doctor’s evaluation in order to determine which of the three treatments are suitable for him/her. Details such as age, weight, medical history, and general well-being are considered prior to the commencement of treatment. So, how do you treat pericardial mesothelioma ?
Radiation – As with all cancer treatments that use this method, large doses of radiation are used to kill the cancerous cells on the pericardium. The downside to radiation treatment is that not only are you killing off the cancerous cells, but you are also damaging the vital organs in close proximity to the heart, namely the lungs. The heart also gets damaged (due to the large doses of radiation).
Surgery – We can break this down into two parts; aggressive surgery and palliative procedures. Aggressive surgery involves the removal of the cancerous cell. Since these are very close to the heart and lungs, this makes it an extremely precarious procedure and one that requires an extremely skilled surgeon.
Palliative procedures are used in the latest of stages of pericardial mesothelioma and serve the sole purpose of reducing the symptoms. Usually at this stage the cancer is practically incurable.
Chemotherapy – This is the most widely-used of cancer therapies which involves the use of drugs to kill the cancerous cells. Unfortunately, the majority of drugs used have a low success rate with pericardial mesothelioma. Research is being conducted to come up with a cocktail of drugs that have a more favourable outcome.
There does exist another form of treatment which involves using all three aforementioned treatment options. It is known as Dual Therapy. Surgery is used to remove the cancerous cells, then chemotherapy and radiation are used to kill the remaining cells. The success rate for this method is higher than just using radiation, surgery or chemotherapy alone, but can still be dangerous.
Mesothelioma Treatments – Some Basic Facts
Before we discuss about mesothelioma treatments it is important to have an understanding of what is mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer of the linings of lungs and abdominal area caused by exposure to asbestos fibers. It takes 3040 years for this cancer to appear after the asbestos exposure. It is important to treat this cancer in the early stages otherwise it proves fatal. Various mesothelioma treatments are surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
There are two types of surgeries for mesothelioma treatments, Aggressive Surgery and Palliative Procedures. Before performing any surgery, it is necessary to check whether the heart and lungs are functioning properly. Of the two types, aggressive surgery, also known as Pneumonectomy, is complicated surgery performed on younger patients, who are good in health and can bear the surgery. Pneumonectomy involves the removal of extra pleural membrane. The main purpose of this mesothelioma treatment is to physically remove as much tumor as possible.
Palliative procedures of mesothelioma treatment are known as Pleurectomy. It is done in the early stages of cancer. This process of mesothelioma treatment involves surgical removal of pleura. However, the procedures are involved to lessen and control the symptoms rather than to cure the disease. This surgery reduces the pain caused by the tumor mass and helps in preventing the recurrence of pleural effusion. Complete removal of tumor is not possible with this procedure.
Chemotherapy is a mesothelioma treatment method that makes combined use of certain drugs for shrinking the tumor. Though some patients show only partial success to this method, some combinations of chemotherapy drugs have proved successful. Scientists have developed some new chemotherapy drugs for mesothelioma treatments.
Radiation therapy is the mesothelioma treatment method that makes use of nuclear radiations to kill the malignant cells and shrink the tumor. However, radiation therapy is an extremely difficult procedure. It can damage the healthy cells of heart, lungs, and other vital organs surrounded by radiation dosage. Dual therapy includes chemotherapy and radiation therapy along with the combination of surgery. This combination helps in killing any remaining tumor cells left after surgery and in relieving symptoms such as pain.
Mesothelioma treatments can be very expensive. However the patients suffering from mesothelioma and other asbestos based diseases can file lawsuits for recovering damages medical expenses, loss of income, lost earning capacity, pain and sufferings. The mesothelioma victims can take help of expert asbestos attorneys to locate the defendants- persons/companies responsible for causing asbestos exposure.