Mesothelioma cancer treatments

Mesothelioma cancer is a malignant form of cancer that affects a very small number of people every year (relative to other forms of cancer). The unique aspect behind mesothelioma is that it is almost exclusively caused by exposure to asbestos. While asbestos is commonly used in materials such as cement it is only harmful in its original form, thus people who are most likely to be affected by mesothelioma are those who work with and are in direct contact with asbestos. While, steps have been taken to reduce the harmful effects while using asbestos like protective gear, the number of mesothelioma cases every year hasn’t slowed down. While this dangerous form of cancer, there are ways to control the cancer and even eradicate it completely with proper treatment. Let’s look at some of the ways to treat and reduce the spread of mesothelioma.

What are the most common mesothelioma cancer treatments?

Chemotherapy
As we all know chemotherapy has long been used to treat cancer and they can be used for the treatment of mesothelioma as well. These are drugs that hamper the cells undergoing uncontrollable division.

Surgery
Surgery is often used to alleviate the pain that the cancer is causing rather than curing the patient. Surgery is performed on patients who are experiencing severe discomfort or pain and is a temporary fix to make the patient feel better.

Thoracentesis
This is usually required in later stages (stage 3 or 4), mesothelioma is rarely completely curable beyond this point and any treatments are aimed at extending life expectancy and easing the pain that the patient maybe experiencing. This procedure is done to remove any build up liquids or fluids from the chest, that maybe causing distention and tenderness in the abdomen. This occurs after the mesothelioma has spread beyond the mesothelium and into the chest cavity.

Radiation therapy
Radiation therapy is more tolerable than other forms of treatment like surgery or chemotherapy and is mainly used again to reduce the intensity of symptoms experienced such as breathing difficulty and pain. The cancer cannot be cured using this method and it is usually prescribed in conjunction with another treatment such as chemotherapy. Radiation therapy is done by externally targeting cancer cells within the body using beams of radiation. On rare occasion, the oncologist may implement radiation therapy by directly inserting radioactive material within the body in affected areas, in most cases however, beam therapy is the main form of radiation therapy.

Clinical trials
As most of the above forms of treatment are used to only contain and control the intensity of the disease and not cure it completely, research is being performed to find a cure to the disease. There are numerous treatments that have been developed but still need to be tested before they are approved for
the public. If there is little hope for treatment of the cancer, a patient can opt for a clinical trial which is, while risky, can prove to be well worth it if successful. Common clinical trials for mesothelioma available today are photodynamic therapy and gene therapy among a few others.

Mesothelioma cancer is usually diagnosed after the initial stages when it can no longer be curable thus the above treatments are usually used to only ease the symptoms and extend the life expectancy of the patient.