Treatment for Mesothelioma
Doctors may suggest treatment for mesothelioma to make a patient's prognosis better. A medical professional will likely recommend a treatment based on the stage and type of mesothelioma a patient has. There are a variety of mesothelioma treatments including surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy.
Mesothelioma treatment may improve a patient’s prognosis through several cancer-fighting methods and medications. It should be noted that all patients’ circumstances are different and should undergo treatment as such. Medical professionals will make treatment recommendations based on the patient’s type and stage of mesothelioma. Additionally, a doctor may consider the patient’s health and body’s ability to recover when suggesting treatment options.
To best develop a treatment plan for an individual patient, there are several factors a mesothelioma specialist will consider to improve survival rates, including:
- Type and Site of mesothelioma (peritoneum, pericardium, or pleural mesothelioma)
- Stage of mesothelioma
- A patient’s overall health
- History of prior treatment
Many patients wonder if mesothelioma is curable; several of these treatments may be used to try and cure the disease or relieve symptoms in the patient. Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are the three primary modes of mesothelioma treatment that have been thoroughly tested and developed and may provide symptom improvement for patients. A doctor may consider multimodal therapy, as these treatments work alone or in conjunction. New treatments are often becoming available, but these limited treatments and drugs may only be available through clinical trials in certain hospitals and medical centers.
Mesothelioma Treatment Costs
If a patient needs multiple treatments, seeks therapies, or loses income from being out of work, the financial impact of this disease can become expansive. All medical hospitalizations and treatments costs can quickly add up. During a 2014 study, data was gathered to determine the mean cost of treatment per hospitalization for mesothelioma which came out to $24,124. However, in some cases, this number could exceed $200,000.
Since so many people were unknowingly exposed to asbestos and other toxic products, there is still an opportunity to receive financial compensation. Therefore, any patient exposed to deadly carcinogens may take many legal actions to recover the costs of medical treatment and combat the financial loss from having to leave their job.
Mesothelioma Treatment Medications
Chemotherapy is often utilized to inject anti-cancer medications into the body. Doctors may choose to administer the drug in different ways depending on the location and stages of the malignant mesothelioma tumor. The two most common administrations are intravenous and intramuscular, which involve the doctor injecting the medications through a vein or muscle.
Doctors may administer the chemotherapy medicine by regional chemotherapy or systematic surgery. Regional chemotherapy occurs when the medication injects through the vein to a specific area, whereas in systematic chemotherapy, the drug spreads throughout the entire body. These medications are commonly administered before surgery, although sometimes patients utilize them to stop the remaining cancerous tumors after treatments end.
Typical mesothelioma treatments affect all cells in the body, including healthy ones. However, targeted therapies find and attack cancerous cells in the body. This type of treatment is newer than the other mesothelioma therapies and has become a more common in-patient treatment. Immunotherapy, the most common type of targeted therapy, is a treatment that utilizes white blood cells and healthy tissues to fight mesothelioma and other diseases.
Medical professionals may utilize radiation by applying high-energy x-rays to attack tumors deep within the body. There are two main types of radiation treatment – external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) and brachytherapy.
There are several other kinds of therapy under these two that differ based on the radiation beam administration and type of beams used. However, because of the difficulty of beam focusing, this treatment typically works after surgery or chemotherapy to attack remaining mesothelioma cells.
Mesothelioma Treatment Surgery
A doctor may recommend mesothelioma surgery to remove the tumor entirely. The surgeon will make an incision and remove the affected tissue with a surgical tool. If unable to remove all of the tumors, chemotherapy or radiation may be recommended to help diminish the affected areas.
Treatment surgeries for patients with pleural mesothelioma include pneumonectomy, pleurectomy, and partial pleurectomy.
Extrapleural pneumectomy is an operation that removes the affected lung, part of the heart lining, the diaphragm, or the chest lining. This surgery is difficult to perform. Therefore, doctors execute this surgery on patients in the early stage of pleural mesothelioma when there is only one covered lung. A pleurectomy and decortication are surgeries that remove partial lung linings, chest, and lung surfaces. In addition, debulking surgery is an option that involves removing or reducing part of the tumor.
A doctor typically chooses a cytoreductive surgical plan when a diagnosed patient has peritoneal mesothelioma. This surgical series removes parts of specific organs in the body. In addition, omentectomy and peritonectomy are also common forms of surgery selected, either alone or in combination.
Omentectomy surgery operates on the body’s abdominal region known as the omentum. Peritoneal mesothelioma includes affected tissues from the stomach, liver, and around the intestines. A peritonectomy surgery operates on the tissues around the peritoneal space. In addition to mesothelioma, this surgery is used to treat many other cancers.
Many cases of pericardial mesothelioma are inoperable as the mesothelioma tumors surround the heart, a dangerous place to perform surgery. Although it is a complicated surgery, surgery is still the primary treatment for this disease.
A pericardiectomy procedure removes parts or the entirety of the pericardium. Mesothelioma specialists often refer to this surgery as pericardial stripping.
Mesothelioma Treatment Clinical Trials
Several emerging treatments for mesothelioma include immunotherapy, monoclonal antibodies, and other molecule medicines. Even though they are new to the medical world, they are currently the most successful. Clinical trials for mesothelioma are the best way to find new treatment options as they are more available to the public than treatments such as immunotherapy.
Researchers are doing their best to find efficient ways to combat mesothelioma by increasing their clinical trial research. Physicians are also improving the efficiency of their surgeries when it comes to removing peritoneal mesothelioma. Additionally, targeted methods are evolving to reduce mesothelioma chemotherapy side effects by directing anti-cancer drugs to avoid harming healthy cells.
Mesothelioma Treatment Nutrition
You can make several lifestyle changes to strengthen your body and make it more receptive to treatment. Patients can work to improve their mesothelioma diagnosis and wellbeing by:
- Refraining from smoking
- Regularly Exercising
- Healthy Eating
- Avoiding Alcohol
- Resting Plenty
By implementing these simple lifestyle changes, your healthy body will be more receptive to treatment and have a better prognosis.