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Mesothelioma Treatment

Mesothelioma treatment for this asbestos-related cancer is best served when started after an early diagnosis. Unfortunately, most cases of mesothelioma are not caught until the later stages of the illness when prognosis is grim for recovery and patients have but a few weeks to 12 months to live, in general.

 

X-ray of patient with mesothelioma

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Asbestos dangers are well documented as is the connection between asbestos and mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a cancer of the mesothelium, which is a 2-layer protective lining that covers the lungs, heart and some internal organs. Between 2,000 and 3,000 cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed each year and almost all stem from past exposure to asbestos. In fact, the exposure to asbestos may have happened up to 50 years before the diagnosis is made.

Mesothelioma Treatment

Mesothelioma treatment usually involves surgery, chemotherapy and / or radiation therapy. In some other instances therapies such as immunotherapy, photodynamic therapy and experimental therapies that are part of clinical trials may be used. While not intended as a cure, palliative surgical procedures may also be used to treat the symptoms associated with mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma treatment will depend upon, which area of the body is affected by the cancer. Typically, the areas that are affected are the linings of the plura (lungs), pericardium (heart) or the peritoneum (abdominal cavity).

Mesothelioma treatment for the plura (the most prevalent form of mesothelioma) begins once the cancer is discovered, which is typically during a routine exam. Sometimes the patient will complain of pain breathing since the tumor has made its way in-between the lungs and rib cage. This type of mesothelioma is only caused by asbestos fibers. An X-ray, CT scan or MRI usually uncovers the potential cancer, which is then followed by a bronchoscopy so that the surgeon may take a look at the tumor inside the lungs. The only sure way to diagnose mesothelioma is through a biopsy. Once the biopsy has been confirmed to be plural mesothelioma, then surgery may be scheduled. Oftentimes surgery is the first method used to combat the cancer and is followed by either chemotherapy or radiation therapy in order to decrease and shrink the cancerous cells missed by the surgery.

Treatment for Peritoneal Mesothelioma (the second most-prevalent form) begins once diagnosis is made, which is no small feat since the symptoms are non-specific and are often misdiagnosed. Symptoms such as abdominal pain and swelling, weight loss, loss of appetite, breathing difficulties, nausea and bowel obstruction are often attributed to less serious disease processes. Once Peritoneal Mesothelioma has been confirmed with a biopsy, then treatment will likely involve surgery, chemotherapy and / or radiation therapy, much like for Plural Mesothelioma. However, for some patients, surgery is not an option and may undergo either chemotherapy or radiation therapy depending upon the advanced stage of the cancer, the patient's health and other factors.

Treatment for pericardial mesothelioma (the rarest form of mesothelioma) may involve options similar to those for both Plural Mesothelioma and Peritoneal Mesothelioma. pericardial mesothelioma, which is cancer of the lining of the heart is reported to be the most painful form of the disease. Symptons of pericardial mesothelioma include chest pains, persistent coughing, shortness of breath and heart palpitations. Usually those who contract this form of mesothelioma are those who worked with asbestos-laden products or in asbestos-heavy buildings most of their working years. Those with pericardial mesothelioma have perhaps the worst prognosis of all with this type of cancer, with an expected lifespan of not more than 12 months.

Mesothelioma treatment for the three different types of cancer may also involve another type of method called palliative surgical procedures. With this type of procedure, the symptoms of mesothelioma are treated without treating the disease itself. This type of treatment can extend the life expectancy of those diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Gaining popularity is a fourth type of standard mesothelioma treatment called Immunotherapy. With Immunotherapy a person's own immune system may be stimulated to fight the cancer or an outside source may be introduced that will serve the same purpose. Some physicians believe that in many cases of mesothelioma, the body has a difficult time recognizing the cancerous cells as foreign invaders that need to be killed off. With Immunotherapy the body's immune system is put on high alert and antibodies are stimulated to attack the cancerous cells. This type of therapy is usually used in conjunction with the other three treatments to help extend a persons life by months and sometimes years.

Another type of mesothelioma treatment is called Photodynamic therapy, which uses a photosensitizing drug that is absorbed by the cancer cells. A light source is applied to the cancer cells and the drug reacts to the light, creating a reaction and giving off a chemical that kills the mesothelioma cells. Clinical trials are currently being conducted to assess the effectiveness of Photodynamic therapy as a viable treatment and early results are encouraging. Research is ongoing and new tests are being developed in this area.

Other clinical trials are also ongoing and patients who meet the criteria are encouraged to apply for the trials. New tests and treatments are constantly being researched and developed. As with all cases of mesothelioma, time is of the essence. If you or a loved one has this disease then seek immediate medical help and seek immediate legal help from an asbestos lawyer as well. It's important to contact a personal injury lawyer who specializes in mesothelioma lawsuits as many times insurance will not cover the overwhelming medical costs. In order for the surviving family to not have to face potential bankruptcy or other financial hardship, seeking out an asbestos lawyer now may save much anguish later.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 


 

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