Popular Treatment Options for Mesothelioma Patients
Nicole Winch | April 28, 2020
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, there are a variety of life-extending treatment options available. Not every mesothelioma cancer diagnosis is the same, so treatment is determined on an individual basis.
Unfortunately, there is not a cure for mesothelioma. Researchers and medical experts continue looking for a permanent solution to this cancer. However, an early diagnosis and an aggressive treatment regimen can improve your overall prognosis.
Here are the most popular mesothelioma treatment options for patients. If you’re looking for mesothelioma treatment, contact the team at BCBH Law. We can connect you to medical experts who know which doctors and cancer centers are best-suited to treat your diagnosis.
The most effective treatment method for mesothelioma patients is life-extending surgery. Undergoing an operation is the quickest way to remove a large portion of the mesothelioma tumors affecting the body.
However, surgery is also invasive and sometimes requires removing an organ (such as the lung). The procedure you or your loved one uses depends on which type of mesothelioma you have. Pleural mesothelioma patients can undergo an extrapleural pneumonectomy or a pleurectomy with decortication. The former removes the affected lung, while the latter does not.
Peritoneal mesothelioma patients often undergo cytoreduction with heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy. These surgeries can extend survival times for patients by multiple years. Some studies even show patients living for five or more years.
Surgery may not be recommended by some doctors because it is an invasive approach to treating this disease and could cause complications. If you or a loved one is considering surgery, prioritize finding a doctor who specializes in mesothelioma procedures. An experienced mesothelioma surgeon can operate with fewer complications.
Chemotherapy, one of the most common mesothelioma treatments, is an anti-cancer drug that slows the growth and spread of malignant mesothelioma.
There are various chemotherapy drugs that may work for you or your loved one. The United States Food and Drug Administration has approved two chemotherapy drugs for mesothelioma: cisplatin and pemetrexed. Other drugs used in clinical trials and experimental settings include vinorelbine, gemcitabine, carboplatin and doxorubicin.
Traditional chemotherapy, which is delivered intravenously, has well-known side effects: nausea, vomiting, decreased appetite, weight loss and low healthy cells. Chemotherapy does not differentiate between healthy cells and diseased ones, which leads to complications.
Mesothelioma specialists often use intraoperative chemotherapy, delivered directly into the location of the tumors. This method bypasses the bloodstream and minimizes the effect on healthy cells.
Radiation is a regular treatment approach for pleural mesothelioma patients. This type of mesothelioma forms in the pleura, which is the thin membrane between your chest wall and lungs. Radiation therapy is a noninvasive approach to treating this disease and can be used on patients with all stages of pleural mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma radiation sends high-energy beams toward your chest targeting tumors. The intent is to focus the therapy on the location of the disease and spare healthy cells and tissue.
Radiation therapy is also used to reduce pain and discomfort caused by the tumors. This type of treatment is called “palliative mesothelioma treatment.”
Multimodal treatment involves a combination of mesothelioma therapies. Usually, multimodal mesothelioma treatment utilizes a combination of surgery and either chemotherapy or radiation (or both).
Multimodal treatment has the best impact on survival time for mesothelioma patients. This disease is comprised of many microscopic tumors, which makes removing 100 percent of them during surgery a challenge. Chemotherapy and radiation, either before or after surgery, can address remnant tumors or make them smaller and easier to remove during an operation.
5. Clinical Trials
You may qualify to participate in a mesothelioma clinical trial, which is a scientific study of one or multiple types of emerging, yet-to-be-approved therapies.
This avenue is a way to try treatment methods that are still in research. Some examples of emerging treatments include immunotherapy, virotherapy and gene therapy. Each has shown effective results in slowing the growth of or killing mesothelioma tumors.
Potential candidates are evaluated based on age, gender, current health and mesothelioma type when being considered for a trial. Each study is unique, and if you are rejected by one you may be accepted for another.