Increasing the Life Expectancy for Mesothelioma
It is always very difficult to be diagnosed with mesothelioma. The next step is to focus on the type of treatment to increase the life expectancy for mesothelioma. This is a very difficult time for both the mesothelioma victim and their families. The oncologist will run a series of test such as x-rays, CT scans, MRIs and biopsies will determine the best treatment for the patient.
The main point of receiving treatment is to destroy the cancerous cells, to lessen the pain and to make a better quality of life for the victim. These treatments are done while trying to keep the non-malignant cells healthy. There are 3 different ways to treat mesothelioma radiation, chemotherapy and surgery. The oncologist must determine the mesothelioma location, tumor size, how much it spread, cancer stage, age of the victim and health of the mesothelioma patient. There could be several doctors involved in providing treatment to the patient.
Surgery of done to cure mesothelioma or to keep the victim comfortable with less pain and make the quality of life better. If the mesothelioma is in a late stage, surgery will not be an option. Usually the surgeon will attempt to remove the tumor and other cancerous tissue. Some surgeons will perform a procedure called pleurodesis. This is when the lungs are injected with talc to prevent excessive fluid buildup. Another procedure thorascentesis is used to remove fluid from the lungs with a needle. A pleurectomey is done by removing the lung lining and control excessive fluid, reduce pain and relieve breathing problems.
Radiation treatment is done when the patient is not strong enough for surgery. Radiation has far less side effects than chemotherapy. In some cases, the oncologist will recommend radiation and chemotherapy treatments. There are different ways to administer radiation to a mesothelioma patient. Most mesothelioma patients receive External Beam Radiation. It is done by a machine that treats the infected area externally. This procedure can take up to 5 weeks. External Beam Radiation treatment is also used as a post-surgery treatment too. Another radiation treatment is called Brachytherapy. This is when the radiation is done inside of the abdomen or lung of the mesothelioma victim. This treatment is very rare.
Chemotherapy is done to relieve the victims of the mesothelioma symptoms. It can be administered by pill or injection. All mesothelioma victims receive chemotherapy intravenously. Some oncologist will recommend two different chemotherapy drugs to treat the mesothelioma victim. Cytotoxin is used to keep the cells surrounding the mesothelioma tumor healthy. Alimata and Cisplatin are FDA approved treatments for mesothelioma. Chemotherapy side effects such as nausea and vomiting are very unpleasant for the mesothelioma patient. If the side effects are too severe, many patients will opt out of chemotherapy treatment. Some patients cannot handle two different chemotherapy treatments. You oncologist will determine have treatment should be administered.
There are constantly new clinical trials with patients for new mesothelioma treatments. If a patient wants to participate in the clinical trials, your oncologist will see if you qualify for a study. These are drug test that are done prior to FDA approval. There are many cancer specialists always looking for ways to cure mesothelioma and other cancers.