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Mesothelioma treatment

Studies show that there is no scientific evidence of a known cure to mesothelioma. However, mesothelioma treatments have been developed to provide relief to symptoms and resulting in a higher life expectancy.

Mesothelioma treatment options include:

 

  1. Surgery– there are three options to surgery
  • Pleurectomy surgery this surgery is where the mesothelial lining of the lungs and chest cavity are removed. In some cases diseased tissue from the affected lung is also removed i.e. partial lung removal. This surgery may involve concurrent resection of the mesothelial lining.
  • Mesothelioma pleurocentesis also known as thoracentesis, this is surgery by way of incision into the chest to withdraw fluid. Pleural mesothelioma symptoms include the buildup of fluid in the pleura space and in the lungs. This makes it difficult to breathe and can cause severe pain. The withdrawal of fluids relieves theses uncomfortable symptoms. The surgery can be performed as many times as necessary.
  • Extrapleural pneumonectomy this surgery is treatment for malignant mesothelioma through the removal of the affected lung, portion of the diaphragm and lining of the lungs and heart. It is performed on patients with cancer confined to the chest cavity. It is only performed on patients that are deemed sufficiently healthy. This surgery is used in conjunction with chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

There is no clear evidence which form of surgery gives the best outcome as many other factors come into play like age, gender etc.

2. Chemotherapy

This is an aggressive mesothelioma treatment effective in reducing and/or shrinking tumors and killing cancer cells. Chemotherapy targets cells with rapid growth and kills them off; in as much as it is effective with cancer it also targets other cells in the body. Due to this it results in side effects of hair loss as one of the fastest growing cells in the human body is hair cells.

Chemotherapy does not cure mesothelioma but it can alleviate symptoms and improve the quality of life of patients and prolong survival. It is administered by way of powerful drugs either by swallowing them as pills or injecting them into the blood stream or by a small tube into the body cavity where the cancer is developing.

The main side effects of chemotherapy are hair loss, vomiting and fever.

3. Radiotherapy

This is mesothelioma treatment where high energy rays are used to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. It is used in advanced pleural mesothelioma where surgery is not possible. In this case radiotherapy is used to try and slow down the cancer and control it.

It can be used to control symptoms of advanced pleural mesothelioma to control the pain. As the radiotherapy kills cells and shrinks tumors it relieves pain from tumors which press against the lungs, chest and /or abdomen.

It can also be used after surgery in early pleural mesothelioma by a course of intensity modulated radiotherapy.

Radiotherapy is not painful however, some people get skin irritation around the area of radiation. The irritation resembles sunburn but is gradual unlike sunburn. Some characteristic side effects are:

  • Pink or red skin
  • Burning, itching, soreness and/or peeling of skin
  • Hair loss
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Where radiation is on the chest coughing and/or sore throat

Radiotherapy is more favored as it has less side effects than chemotherapy.

 

It must be said that Vinson Law does not endorse any treatment for mesothelioma discussed in this article. We are of the opinion that for treatment choices and options one must seek medical advice from qualified medical specialists and/or practitioners.

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