Like other forms of cancer, treatment for mesothelioma involves killing cancer cells, preventing the condition from spreading to other parts of the body, and finding ways to lessen pain associated with symptoms. Given that mesothelioma is a complex, aggressive condition, treatment methods often differ depending on a wealth of factors, including the stage of the cancer, the patient's overall health, and the type of mesothelioma. Typically, treatments include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.
When mesothelioma is caught during its early stages, surgery is usually the best option. That way, the tumor may be removed completely before it becomes imbedded or spreads to another part of the body. One form of surgery, which is a fairly new curative method, partially removes the affected organ and surrounding membrane. This is called an extrapleural pnemonectomy.
However, surgery isn't for all mesothelioma patients. When the condition is caught in its later stages, the cancer has spread too far to fully remove. In these cases, mesothelioma doctors will perform palliative surgeries. These procedures don't remove the cancer but make patients more comfortable. One such strategy is a pleurodesis. This method involves injecting talc into a patient's lungs, stopping fluid from building back up.
Surgeries are typically followed up with radiation and chemotherapy. It is also recommended on its own, particularly for patients in advanced stages for whom surgery is not an option.
The treatment works by applying a beam of radiation from a machine to the affected area for a certain length of time for five weeks. The intention is to relieve mesothelioma symptoms.
This treatment methods works to kill cancerous cells. As such, it is a more aggressive strategy than radiation and can have symptoms of its own. Plus, it can harm normal cells as well. Still, the treatment has been shown to alleviate symptoms and get rid of damaging cells.
Thanks to continuing research and clinical trials, new treatment methods are quickly becoming available. One such method is intraoperative photodynamic therapy. This advancement uses medications and light to destroy cancerous cells during surgery. Patients diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in early stages are good candidates for this treatment.
If you have been affected by mesothelioma, we can help you find out more about the latest mesothelioma treatments. To receive a free information packet, fill out the form on this page.