Mesothelioma Treatment Options
The three main types of mesothelioma treatment include radiation therapy, chemotherapy and surgery.
It is extremely difficult to deliver adequate doses of radiation necessary to kill the tumor without harming the surrounding organs due to the location of mesothelioma cells. There is an option of lowering the radiation dose, however, it is hard to determine whether low doses of radiation are significant in reducing the survival rate among patients. Unfortunately, using radiation therapy after surgery has not been very successful in terms of increasing the rate of survival, however, since surgery does not always remove the entire tumor, radiation therapy can help kill the remaining cancer cells and relieve certain symptoms of the disease such as chest pain.
Before considering surgery as a treatment option a patient should always contact their doctor or primary healthcare provider to go over other options of treatment and examine the overall condition of the patient. Various tests should be performed to determine how safe the option of surgery is depending on the patient.s condition and the spread of the tumor. There are a number of reasons why a patient.s lung and heart function can decrease such as exposure to asbestos, smoking and age, all of which must be considered before surgery is performed.
There are two types of surgical procedures performed in most mesothelioma cases: aggressive surgery, which can prove to be a long-term solution and palliative procedures usually performed as a means of symptom relief.
Aggressive surgery can be performed in order to remove the affected organs such as a lung, pleura, or a diaphragm with the purpose of removing as much of the cancer as possible. Such procedures are extremely complicated and not hospitals will be willing to perform them. This type of operation is usually only performed on younger patients with good overall health and the consequences of such operation are evaluated thoroughly. Please check with your doctor or healthcare professional in order to determine your eligibility.
Pallative procedures are usually performed in order to alleviate some of the symptoms of mesothelioma and are performed in later stages of the disease. These procedures are performed in order to remove the collected fluid in a patient.s lungs in order to relieve loss of breath and are not aimed at curing mesothelioma. During such procedures a needle is usually inserted into the chest and the fluid is drained therefore easing the pain and shortness of breath.
Chemotherapy and Drugs
Chemotherapy as another common method of treating mesothelioma generally has mixed results due to the variety of patients. conditions and their overall health. Combination of chemotherapy and mesothelioma drugs is usually more effective in treating the disease especially as more and more new drugs are being developed. Similarly to radiation therapy, chemotherapy can be used in addition to surgery in order to remove cancer cells missed by surgical operations.
Stages of Treatment
Stage 1: Localized mesothelioma
This stage usually allows aggressive surgery to be performed in order by removing the affected organs in order to cure the disease. Additionally, other surgical operations may be beneficial in order to alleviate certain symptoms of mesothelioma such as breathlessness. Please contact your doctor or healthcare provider in order to determine if such options would be beneficial to your condition and for more information on hospitals performing the above surgical operations.
Stages II, III, and IV: Advanced mesothelioma
Pallative procedures may be performed in order to drain excess fluid from the patient.s lungs in order to relieve certain symptoms of the disease. Other methods of treatment such as chemotherapy and/or mesothelioma drugs may be used as well in order to fight the disease.
Stage V: Recurrent Mesothelioma
Unfortunately there are currently no effective methods of treatment in this stage of the disease. However, treatment options not considered in the earlier stages can be considered and may be beneficial. Please contact your doctor in order to determine which treatment options are right for you.