Oncologists are making inroads toward a cure for mesothelioma
People diagnosed with mesothelioma are often overwhelmed by the rare odds of surviving with this disease. They can take heart in the fact that leading oncologists and other healthcare specialists are hard at work to find a cure and to improve the way mesothelioma cancer is treated. Doctors have been able to increase the duration of a mesothelioma patient's lifespan using novel drugs that for a period of time are able to attack the cancer and impede its ability to grow.
Emerging drugs toward a mesothelioma cure
Some of the newer drugs include the FDA-approved Alimta, a treatment for malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), which is a cancer that affects the inside lining of the chest cavity. It is also given to patients with advanced nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Alimta is given with cisplatin, another anticancer medicine, when surgery is not an option for the patient. Alimta works by interfering with a crucial process that allows cancer cells to reproduce and spread.
Other recent advances toward a cure for mesothelioma have been geared toward detecting the disease at the earliest possible stage in the patient--when treatment is most effective. Such detection tools include the MESOMARK assay, a simple blood test that is used to help determine the presence of mesothelioma. The MESOMARK test can also help measure a patient's response to therapy and to determine if additional testing is required.
MESOMARK, much like other therapies approved for use in patients with mesothelioma, went through a rigorous research process, which included clinical trials to test its effectiveness. Mesothelioma patients are encouraged to participate in such trials because they are the best approach for eligible patients to play an active role in their own health care. In these trials, mesothelioma patients gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available. They also obtain expert medical care at leading health care facilities. Patients can personally benefit from their participation and, at the same time, help contribute to more effective mesothelioma treatment for future patients.
A doctor will typically use the stages of mesothelioma as a guide to help determine what treatment to prescribe. If diagnosed in an early stage, surgery may be an option. After surgery, patients will typically undergo a combination of treatments to combat mesothelioma, including chemotherapy and radiation therapy. More recently, other treatments have emerged after being tested in mesothelioma clinical trials. They include photodynamic therapy, gene therapy and immunotherapy.
Stories of mesothelioma and survival
Though scientists have yet to find a cure for mesothelioma, and most patients live only a few years after diagnosis, some people do defy the odds. They include a New York projectionist with mesothelioma who was exposed to asbestos as a child via his father, who worked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He was diagnosed at age 59 and is still going strong today at age 68.
Another mesothelioma survivor story involves a Virginia man, who at just 33 years old was diagnosed with mesothelioma. In the early 80s, he worked at two different gas stations to make ends meet, washing windows and changing tires. He also inhaled asbestos dust as he was in close proximity to mechanics working with asbestos lined brakes and shoes. Later he worked in construction, further exposing himself to asbestos materials. After years of treatments, he is still living at 42.
Surgeons in the fight for a mesothelioma cure
Many medical specialists have dedicated their lives to finding a cure for mesothelioma. A leader in this quest is Dr. David Sugarbaker, a surgical oncologist based in Boston, Massachusetts. He has extensive expertise in treating mesothelioma patients, having pioneered the "tri-modal" therapy approach. His practice focuses on general thoracic surgery, minimally invasive surgery, lung volume reduction surgery, esophageal cancer, mesothelioma, non-small cell lung cancer, and video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS). Dr. Sugarbaker also founded the International Pleural Mesothelioma Program, which is dedicated to researching emerging treatment options toward the development of more targeted and effective care for mesothelioma patients.
How our mesothelioma attorneys can help
Thousands of men and women diagnosed with an asbestos illness have filed asbestos claims against the companies that made asbestos containing products and failed to warn the public of the danger of asbestos exposure. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, please complete the form on this page to get important legal information and a free review of your possible asbestos case. A representative of our firm will be in touch shortly.