Understanding Mesothelioma Treatment Options
Unfortunately, mesothelioma is among the various diseases that continues to produce quite a disappointing and negative prognosis. To this day, there is no known or medically-accepted cure for mesothelioma. If you need legal advice and assistance, contact mesothelioma lawyers.
However, even though it is extremely rare, there have been cases where the disease has been cured without remission. Also, advancements in the treatment for mesothelioma have significantly improved the overall life expectancy in mesothelioma patients.
Determining mesothelioma treatment options, there are various factors that must be considered. Among aspects to be considered, the most common are:
• Stage of mesothelioma – The earlier that the disease is diagnosed, the better chance the patient will have of survival.
• Patient’s age
• Overall health status – If the disease has progressed to the extent that the health is considered to be poor, the mesothelioma treatment options will prove to be limited for some may be too dangerous to consider.
• Type of mesothelioma – Depending on where the cancer is situated will dictate the overall type of treatment that can be administered.
Surgery is often the first type of mesothelioma treatment option that is considered. However, the overall success of surgery, when undertaken alone, is not very successful. Patients that will undergo surgery and not undertake other mesothelioma treatment options will usually have a life expectancy of less than one year.
When surgery is combined with the other existing mesothelioma treatment options, namely radiation and chemotherapy, there may be greater rates of success, even though results still prove to vary.
The most common types of surgery that are used for mesothelioma treatment options are:
• Pleurectomy/Decortication – Entails the actual removal of the chest cavity’s inner lining; this is the most common type of surgery for mesothelioma patients.
• Extrapleural Pneumonectomy – Involves removing various internal organs of the patient, which can include:
• Part of the lung
• Lining of the lung
• Lining of the chest cavity
Radiation is often times given to patients after mesothelioma surgery to help further combat the disease. Typically, patients that have the cancer localized and are physically fit to withstand radiation treatment will be candidates for this kind of mesothelioma treatment.
Radiation will usually also be accompanied with chemotherapy as well, for mesothelioma tumors seem to be quite resistant to radiation therapy alone. Radiation alone has proven to be ineffective in treating the cancer and the necessary amount of radiation needed to have any kind of effect is toxic to the human body.
Radiation is usually done with the intention of preventing issues of remission and preventing the cancer from further spreading along the chest wall and other internal organs. When used in conjunction with chemotherapy as a post-operative treatment option, patient life expectancy is often more than five years.
Though other mesothelioma treatment options exist, the most effective has proven to be chemotherapy. The effectiveness of chemotherapy is further enhanced when used in combination with radiation after mesothelioma surgery.
In various trials, chemotherapy drugs such as cisplatin and pemetrexed have been used as the sole treatment for patients with pleural mesothelioma, which rendered various results. However, there were general improvements in using chemotherapy alone, extended life expectancy to over 13 months as opposed to the 10 month median.