Many people have been demanding for the treatment of mesothelioma. There is a need for victims of the disease and their families to increase their awareness regarding treatment in order to increase their hopes even just a little.
In the treatment of mesothelioma, various diagnostic tools must be used such as X-rays, CT scans, MRIs and biopsies to be able to identify the factors. The factors which will be collected will help the doctor and/or oncologist in looking for the most effective treatment for each patient.
Because mesothelioma is a form of cancer, malignant cells must be destroyed and replaced by healthy ones. This can be done through three ways: surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. The type of treatment will be depending on the following issues:
1) type of mesothelioma and tumour location
2) tumour size
3) degree to which the cancer has spread or metastasized
4) what stage of the cancer the patient is in
5) age of the patient
6) and the overall physical health of the patient.
Before any treatment can take place, it is advisable to seek advice from a variety of doctors including a cancer specialist or oncologist, lung specialist or pulmonologist, and radiologist.
The first treatment that can be done is surgery. There are two reasons why surgery must be performed on mesothelioma patients: an attempt to treat the disease or for soothing reasons in order to keep the patient more comfortable and enhance the quality of life. But if mesothelioma is diagnosed in late stages, then surgery is not preferable unless it is diagnosed at an earlier stage.
Moreover, surgery is often used as a palliative measure where doctors may choose a surgery called pleurodesis, injecting talc into the lungs to hinder fluid from flowing back, and thoracentesis, a procedure that takes off fluid from the lungs through means of a small needle. As for severe cases of mesothelioma, pleurectomy is another recommended type of surgery where the pleura is removed which results to controlled fluids and less pain and breathing difficulties.
Radiotherapy is suitable for patients with weak bodies for it has less side effects and is easier to bear than chemotherapy. There are two different types of radiation therapy that is suitable for mesothelioma patients. First is the external beam radiation which is the recommended kind to treat mesothelioma. Coming from out of the body, the machine is directed towards areas that are affected lasting from five days a week to five weeks. The purpose of this radiation therapy is to decrease bleeding, difficulty in breathing, difficulty in swallowing, pain, and often have effects on tumours. Besides surgery, radiation therapy may be followed after. Another type of radiation therapy is brachytherapy – which is prescribed rarely for mesothelioma patients because its radioactive material is directed towards the inner part of the lungs or abdomen.
Similarly to radiation, chemotherapy offers no healing for mesothelioma patients though it can lessen the awful symptoms of the disease. Chemotherapy drugs can be given in a form of a pill or injected into the body, usually into the chest cavity or abdominal cavity. These drugs can also be combined to ensure the best results. The most common and preferred combination is Alimta and Cisplatin which are combined for certain patients only. Some patients cannot bear more than one drug.
Medications are also given to patients with mesothelioma due to chemotherapy’s side effects. These medications help relieve nausea and vomiting. Vitamins also help in replacing the essential nutrients gone during chemotherapy. If the side effects of a treatment is to severe, patients tend not to experience that type of treatment.