Best Mesothelioma Treatments: Discuss emerging therapies and gold standard protocol with your physician
Best Mesothelioma Treatments
The most common mesothelioma treatments are surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Some experimental treatments have also been encouraging as of late, such as photodynamic therapy, gene therapy and immunotherapy.
There are 3 main types of surgery toward the best treatment for mesothelioma.
- Diagnostic surgery is a non-invasive surgery used to inspect if there is cancer present and where it is located.
- Curative surgery involves the removal of as much cancer as possible from the body, in hopes of a cure. It is usually followed by radiation and chemotherapy. For this procedure to be effective, it is very important for mesothelioma to be diagnosed as early as possible. Unfortunately, most mesothelioma diagnoses come well into Stage III or IV.
- Palliative surgery is also involved in removing cancer from the body, but in this case it is purely for symptomatic relief.
Radiation therapy is used to kill cancerous cells and limit the spread of the disease through the body. It is mostly used in conjunction with surgery. It is also used on its own to provide symptomatic relief for pain associated with mesothelioma.
There are two types of radiation used for mesothelioma patients, based on their suitability for the procedure. The first is External Beam Radiation Therapy and it is the most common radiation treatment for mesothelioma patients. An external source of radiation is directed at the area affected by mesothelioma. This process can also cause some healthy tissue surrounding the affected area to be damaged. Unfortunately, tumors continuously grow, and in the end this treatment becomes more for symptomatic relief rather than towards a cure.
Another type of radiation would be Brachytherapy or sealed source radiation therapy. Brachytherapy involves precise placement of radiation rods near cells afflicted with mesothelioma. A key feature in this process is that it only affects the area where the rods are placed.
Unsealed Source Radiation consists of administrating soluble forms of radioactive substances to the body whether by ingestion or injection. This treatment is barely used because the patient literally becomes radioactive and can pose a health risk to those around them; particularly children and pregnant women. Unsealed source radiation is not a treatment used for those diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Chemotherapy usually alludes to the drugs used in the treatment of Mesothelioma. These drugs are meant to kill the cells causing the disease and stop them from splitting. Unfortunately, these drugs do not specifically attack the unhealthy cells, but viable ones as well. One example would be the cells that are involved in hair growth. This is the reason that most chemotherapy patients lose their hair. Other side effects of these drugs are vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite and becoming less tolerant to infection.
Although there are over 100 chemotherapy drugs on the market, only a few of them are targeted towards treatment of Mesothelioma. Alimta, Carboplatin, Cisplatin, Gemcitabine, Navelbine and Onconase are generally administered in IV or pill form and sometimes dosed together. Alimta is the only drug specifically aimed in treating Mesothelioma patients by the FDA.
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for Mesothelioma. Chemotherapy aids in the treatment of the symptoms associated with the disease. The combinations of the treatments above have been successful in lengthening the survival rates of those stricken with Mesothelioma. Medical researchers continue to explore new treatments toward a cure for this aggressive cancer.
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Weitz & Luxenberg is a leading plaintiffs' law firm that has represented people affected by mesothelioma for over 20 years. Men and women diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure may be entitled to compensation from the companies responsible for their asbestos exposure. If you would like a free consultation or more information about your legal options, please complete the form on this page, and a representative of our law firm will contact you as soon as possible.