A proper mesothelioma diagnosis can be difficult to obtain, as mesothelioma symptoms do not emerge until years after exposure to asbestos has occurred. There is no cure for mesothelioma. When the illness is discovered and treatment is administered, it is often too late to be very effective.
Doctors most commonly utilize mesothelioma treatment options including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The treatment option selected depends on various factors, such as the types of mesothelioma and the sufferer’s age.
There is no procedure to remove mesothelioma from the body, but doctors can perform surgery to alleviate some suffering. Doctors can perform various types of surgery, such as removing part of the lung, total lung removal, draining fluid from the lungs or removing the lining that surrounds the organs.
While chemotherapy can be successful in treating many forms of cancer, mesothelioma is not easily treated with chemotherapy. Drugs can fight cancer by prohibiting the growth of cancerous tumors by stopping cell division. By the time mesothelioma symptoms show, the cancerous cells have embedded themselves deep into layers of dead cells.
Chemotherapy also involves a chemical toxicity level, which can make the mesothelioma patient more ill. If chemotherapy is administered, the drugs cannot target a specific area and often affect healthy cells and tissue.
Radiation therapy can target a specific area of the body, which avoids harming healthy cells. Radioactive sources are placed in the affected area, and radiation is emitted for an entire year.
Although this is not a cure for mesothelioma, radiation therapy can help to reduce pain. In some cases, the size and location of the tumor make it impossible to just target the cancerous cells, so several treatments are required.
Other mesothelioma treatments
Multimodal—This involves using multiple treatment options.
Photodynamic therapy—Doctors prescribe a drug that specifically attacks the mesothelioma cells. A fiber-optic cable is inserted into the patient’s chest, and a light is turned on to interact with the drug. This interaction helps destroy the cancer cells.
Immunotherapy—This mesothelioma treatment involves boosting a patient’s immune system to help fend off the cancer cells. Essentially, the body’s natural defense is being enhanced during this treatment.