Until several years ago, mesothelioma diagnosis was like a certain death sentence. This type of cancer is very aggressive and the patient condition can worsen rapidly. Mesothelioma cases were usually diagnosed at later stage even terminal. The treatment for mesothelioma patients was mainly palliative care focusing on relieving pain and helps patients maintain good quality of their limited time left with loved ones.
Today, mesothelioma is still a highly challenging condition in medical world. There’s no definitive cure yet for mesothelioma cancer but with advanced development of medical researches and technologies, there are new methods of diagnosis and new courses of treatments to improve prognosis. Many patients have been enjoying benefits from advanced treatment for mesothelioma giving them better quality of life and even prolonged their life span beyond the life expectancy.
Standard Treatments for Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a cancerous cell growth or tumor on the mesothelium, thin layer of tissue covering many internal organs. The malignant mesothelioma is commonly found on the tissue layer surrounding the lungs and can spread through many other organs. While no definitive cure available yet, there are different types of treatment for mesothelioma focusing to reduce pain and suffering from the symptoms a well as minimizing spreading on cancerous cells. Each patient may get different course of treatments based on mesothelioma stage, tumor size and location, and the overall health of the patients. Standards mesothelioma treatments are including:
Surgical treatments for mesothelioma can be for curative purposes; to remove tumor or parts of tissue or organ covered with malignant cells preventing it to metastases. It can also for pain relief purposes such as draining fluid on the chest to release pressure on the lung. Surgery is still the best option of treatment for long term survival. However, surgical treatment is more viable for earlier stages of mesothelioma. Advanced stages when the cancer cells already metastases to wider parts of the body, it would be nearly impossible to remove.
This therapy is using certain chemical medications to kill cancer cells with the main goal to shrink the tumor size. For mesothelioma, mainly combination of cisplatin and permetrexed administered orally or through IV line. Chemotherapy is viable for all stages of mesothelioma and proven to be effective to slow cancer growth and ease symptoms. However, it also comes with side effects of nausea, fatigue, hair loss, and other conditions.
High energy rays from radioactive sources can damage cells DNA. Targeted radiation can be effective to kill cancel cells on certain area and shrinking the tumor size to make it easier to remove using surgical method.
Other Treatment Options
Besides the standard treatment for mesothelioma above, there are other options to treat mesothelioma. Multimodal treatment is a widely popular option these days as this treatment combining all three of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery in one course of treatment. Immunotherapy treatment is also widely administered to mesothelioma patients to enhance immune system’s response. Beyond the western medical system, there are also options of alternative therapy to treats the effects of mesothelioma to body and mind. When mesothelioma stage is too advanced for curative treatment, the focus of treatment should palliative care to keep patient comfortable and able to have better quality of life.