At this point, mesothelioma has no cure. This knowledge can be devastating to patients who have been recently diagnosed with the condition, but they may take comfort in knowing that they still have options. Various treatments are available that can either remove the cancer or lessen the symptoms. Plus, mesothelioma experts are experimenting with new treatment methods and procedures through clinical trials that may produce promising discoveries and even that sought-after cure. Consequently, patients who have received a mesothelioma diagnosis do have hope.
Currently, three primary forms of treatment exist for mesothelioma patients: surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Surgery is an option during the disease's early stages, particularly when the tumors are localized. To treat mesothelioma, when possible, a surgeon will remove the tumors. In some cases, he or she may remove the entire affected organ and the entire surrounding tissue. Typically, these procedures are followed up with radiation and chemotherapy. These treatments involve targeting x-rays at the patient and giving him or her drugs that kill cancer cells. Together, these procedures have helped thousands of patients extend their quality of life and their life expectancy.
Thanks to dedicated mesothelioma researchers who believe in pushing the boundaries of standard care, a cure may be closer than we think. Experts are diligently working on ways to detect the disease early and stop it before it produces dangerous effects. One such breakthrough recently occurred in Japan, where researchers created a blood test that may help doctors detect mesothelioma during early stages. This is incredibly valuable because the disease is often discovered much later, when fewer treatment options are available. The assessment, called the Mesomark test, works by identifying biological markers that point toward a cancer diagnosis. As a result, patients who have been exposed to asbestos and show symptoms of mesothelioma now have a better chance of being diagnosed correctly.
Another example is a vaccine currently undergoing initial tests in the Netherlands. This experimental vaccine works by training the immune system to recognize forming cancer cells and attack them. It introduces mesothelioma cells to the immune system, allowing the body to determine how to resolve the issue on its own. Right now, the vaccine is only being tested for patients with pleural mesothelioma. At the same time, other experts around the country are performing further clinical trials in an effort to create further breakthroughs.
These treatments and experiments might sound alarming, but they truly have helped patients life better lives. Some have lived 5 years past their diagnoses, while others live 20 years past their prognoses. This means the condition may be beat, particularly with the creation of further treatments and vaccines.
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