Around 70% to 80% of people who get mesothelioma were heavily exposed to asbestos at work. Normally, the disease does not show up until up to 35 or 50 years after exposure, effecting most people over the age of 65.
Current Mesothelioma Treatments
If the cancer is relatively contained in the lining around the lungs or the abdomen, it’s possible you would be eligible for aggressive surgery. This type of treatment can be curative. In addition to surgery, you would be given some form of chemotherapy or radiation with the goal of killing the cancer cells that are left behind after surgery.
There are some surgeries that are less traumatic for patients who are either not healthy enough to withstand the strain of major surgery, or their cancer has spread too quickly. The goal of these surgeries is to relieve some symptoms and help the patient to feel better.
Chemotherapy is used in treating many different forms of cancer, including mesothelioma. Designed to kill cancer cells, chemotherapy drugs are usually delivered by an IV into a vein the arm. The most common, and successful, chemotherapy drugs for mesothelioma are cisplatin and pemetrexed.
If someone has peritoneal mesothelioma, heated chemotherapy is used to treat the cancer. This form of chemotherapy is given during surgery. Some patients choose not to have chemotherapy because the treatment not only affects cancer cells, but also attacks healthy cells. This can make you feel worse after treatment than before.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to target the cancer and is noninvasive. Normally, it’s paired with other treatment options to help shrink tumors or manage the growth of tumors. It can help to decrease the physical pain of mesothelioma and does not have the strong side effects of chemotherapy. This form of treatment can soothe pain and correct breathing issues by shrinking tumors that press on your nerves.
While it has its pros, radiation therapy can be toxic to certain organs, and damages DNA while killing cancer cells. Because of this, the treatment is used sparingly and only with specific forms of mesothelioma. Radiation therapy is also used when surgery is no longer an option. The two types of radiation are external beam and intraoperative, which is done during surgery.
While individual forms of treatment can be beneficial, cancer specialists sometimes suggest a more effective multimodal approach, which is a mix of surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation. This strategy usually involves experts from each individual field coming together to create a plan that is best for the patient.
Some patients also look into alternative treatments such as massage therapy, acupuncture, or yoga. These methods can be used during regular chemotherapy. Remember to talk with your doctor about exploring these alternative treatments if you are undergoing any of the above treatments for mesothelioma.
If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, you may be entitled to substantial compensation.
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