Mesothelioma Treatment Options Can Extend Lives
“I can’t stress enough the importance of seeing a specialist when you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. It is such a rare disease, and so few people know how to treat this disease. It is often misdiagnosed,” explained Mary Hesdorffer, a nurse practitioner and Medical Liaison for the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation.
“Mesothelioma also comes in three different varieties: epitheloid, sarcomatoid, and biphasic,” she added. “These different histologies actually lead us to sort of tailored treatments and to think about the patients a little bit differently. A doctor who does not specialize in this disease does not understand the nuances of the different histologies and what they may mean in terms of treating patients.”Leading mesothelioma specialists include David Sugarbaker, Valerie Rusch, and Nicholas Vogelzang.
Known the world over as the signature asbestos-related cancer, malignant mesothelioma is an occupational lung cancer that plagued workers in many industries, especially those in construction, automotive and shipping jobs, where they were exposed to products containing asbestos. Patients such as your father who are diagnosed with mesothelioma have several treatment options, depending on what stage the cancer is found.
Whether its multimodality therapyor microRNAs, Weitz & Luxenberg stays on top of the lastest developments in the 22 year struggle to cure mesothelioma. We are dedicated to providing the public with important information regarding asbestos-related diseases and what can be done legally when a family member has developed mesothelioma. A Weitz & Luxenberg lawyer can help your father get the reimbursement he needs to help pay for essential medical treatment.
The earlier mesothelioma is diagnosed, the greater the chances of a recovery, say the mesothelioma doctors our firm works with. Since the mesothelioma latency period is long, and may take decades before symptoms can be properly diagnosed, mesothelioma is most often caught in its later stages, when surgery is no longer a treatment option. Thus, mesothelioma treatment options most often seek to relieve a patient’s pain and help extend their lives.
Significant advances in mesothelioma treatments
According to a 2009 report by Harvey Pass, a leading mesothelioma doctor and co-founder of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Center, there have been many encouraging developments in mesothelioma treatment over the years.
These developments include the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the drugs cisplatinum and alimta for the treatment of mesothelioma. Dr. Pass cited the combined regimented use of cisplatinum with another drug, Pemetrexed, as one of the most significant clinical advances in mesothelioma treatment in 22 years. He also mentioned the drugs gemcitibine and navelbine, but added that they demonstrated “ inferior response rates and are now relegated primarily to second line therapy.”
Dr. Pass presented encouraging results from the American Society of Clinical Oncology for a clinical trial utilizing “multimodality therapy.” During the trial, pemetrexed was administered with cisplatinum, followed by extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) and hemithoracic radiation (RP). After the trial it was concluded that patients who completed the therapy demonstrated improved survival rates.
Other areas of mesothelioma treatment research discussed by Dr. Pass include:
- Genome Wide Scanning: This involves looking at an individual ‘s DNA to see if there are differences (polymorphisms) in genes that code for susceptibility
- Global Methylation Arrays: Tumors in DNA are viewed to see how many areas that control gene regulation are out of order
- microRNAs: “junk” species that are now thought to be master regulators of multiple genes in multiple pathways and can act as tumor suppressors
The following are extramural mesothelioma research centers in the US, with an average of one to two malignant mesothelioma experts at each site.
- NYU Langone, New York, NY
- MSKCC, New York, NY
- Columbia, New York, NY
- Mt. Sinai, New York, NY
- Brigham and Women’s, Boston, MA
- University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
- University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
- Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA
- University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
- Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL
- Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MD
- MD Anderson, Houston, TX
- UCSF, San Francisco, CA
- UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
- University of Washington, Seattle, WA
- University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI
Common Mesothelioma treatment options
The more common mesothelioma treatment options are mesothelioma surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Surgery – Surgical treatments for mesothelioma include three main types: diagnostic surgery, curative surgery and palliative surgery. Only curative surgery can potentially remove all cancer from a patient with mesothelioma. For curative surgery to be effective, an early diagnosis is especially important. The problem is mesothelioma is not usually diagnosed until it reaches Stage III or IV, when surgery is no longer possible. Surgery can only be performed during Stages I and II of the disease. From 1990 to 2006, 663 mesothelioma patients were operated on by three top surgeons at three cancer centers: the Memorial Sloan-Kettering center, the National Cancer Institute, and the Karmanos Cancer Institute.
Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy is an effective treatment option, but comes with unpleasant side effects. Most forms of chemotherapy involve the intravenous administration of drugs, such as Alimta and Cisplatin. Though traditional chemotherapy medications seemed to do little to fight mesothelioma, doctors have been encouraged by the results of newer chemotherapy drug treatments.
Radiation therapy – Radiation is often used in conjunction with surgery. In some cases, however, radiation may be used as an independent treatment to relieve pain and other symptoms associated with mesothelioma. In either case, it is rare for radiation therapy to provide more than short-term symptomatic relief.
Weitz & Luxenburg can help you get compensation
Many people who have experienced the inhalation of asbestos fibers and dust have come forward to say their work environment led to a diagnosis of mesothelioma, asbestosis or lung cancer from asbestos.
For over two decades, Weitz & Luxenberg P.C. has handled some of the most legally complicated and groundbreaking asbestos litigation in the country. We have achieved more mass tort verdicts and settlements than most firms in America. Hard working Americans who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure may be entitled to compensation from the companies responsible for their disease. 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.