There are three different types of treatment options recommended by the doctor. This depends on the stage, type, and severity of the cancer.
Treatment Options: Pleural Mesothelioma
The standard treatment for pleural Mesothelioma includes surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Doctors usually prefer for chemotherapy because of the long-term positive result.
Treatment for Benign Mesothelioma
In many cases, the only treatment needed for this tumor is the surgical procedure. There will be no need of follow-up after the chemotherapy since the tumor is not spreading. Almost 75% of individuals facing benign Mesothelioma develop tumors in the lung.
Doctors prefer for surgical treatment, during which they will remove the segment of the lung. However, the surgery can also bring side effect called pleural effusion, a fluid buildup in the pleural spaces that puts pressure on the lungs and heart.
Many doctors prefer surgery to increase the life expectancy of the patient. Patients facing stage one and two of mesothelioma cancer is eligible for the surgery. The doctor will opt for palliative surgery to improve the quality of the life of the patient. Moreover, the life expectancy of the patient increases few years more.
There are three common types of surgical procedure for Mesothelioma–
- Extra pleural Pneumonectomy (EPP) – Many doctors consider this surgery option the best for pleural Mesothelioma. The surgery involves removing the affected lung and surrounding tissue. Usually, doctors consider combining both EPP with intraoperative chemotherapy to increase the survival rate.
- Pleurectomy/ Decortication – This is a lung-sparing surgery to the EPP. In this type of surgery, the diseased lining of the lung and tumor is removed. Doctors usually combine the P/D with intraoperative radiation to kill mesothelioma cells.
- Cytoreduction with HIPEC – This surgery is preferred for patients facing peritoneal Mesothelioma. In this, the surgeon removes the affected lining of the abdomen and tumors. Once done, the doctor would proceed for intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) for better result.
Doctors prefer going for chemotherapy to kill the mesothelioma cells from the body. In this, the doctor uses a palliative treatment that can ease down the pain caused due to symptoms of Mesothelioma. Chemotherapy can work best if combined with curative treatment along with radiation therapy. There are two significant benefits from chemotherapy for Mesothelioma-
- Improved Prognosis– This is the primary benefit of chemotherapy, helping the patient to live longer. It can be more effective if combined with radiation and surgery.
- Personalization– In many cases, the patient does not respond in the chemotherapy drugs. Therefore, the specialist will develop a specific regimen based on needs.
Radiation therapy is the least invasive treatment for a mesothelioma cancer patient. To increase the effect, the therapy is combined with surgery and chemotherapy. This type of therapy uses radiation that can target cancer cells. Some patients may get radiation before the surgery.
Some benefits of radiation therapy patients can have are-
- Noninvasive– This radiation from the treatment is quick and painless.
- Pain Relief– The radiation from the therapy can shrink the painful tumors for the patients. This makes the radiation the best option
However, the patient undergoing therapy may experience nausea but will stay only for a few days.
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How Can Radiation help?
Radiation therapy blends along with surgery and chemotherapy. Patients who are eligible for the surgery can undergo the radiation process. Radiation therapy is also an option as a palliative measure and helps in decreasing the pain and discomfort.
The radiation oncologist locates the affected area. The doctor uses a diagnostic imaging test, including a CT scan to find the radiation source. The entire radiation therapy will take 30 minutes, and the course runs for 5-6 weeks.
Treatment Options: Pericardial Mesothelioma
Pericardial mesothelioma forms in the lining of the heart. Although this cancer is not much dangerous, there are few cases where this form diagnoses people. Some of the symptoms include-
Symptoms of Pericardial Mesothelioma-
- Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
- Chest pain
- Fluid buildup
Since this type of cancer is rare, the general prognosis is limited. Patient facing this cancer survive for six months to one year.
The treatment for this rare type of cancer is standard include surgery and chemotherapy. Doctors choose the treatment as per the severity of the problem. One of the treatments considered at the early stage is Pericardiectomy. During this treatment, the specialist will remove the part of the lining of the heart. This process will remove visible tumors.
The pericardiectomy process is followed by the combination of chemotherapy to kill the remaining cancer cells. There are many cases where these two treatments are blended. In addition, the success rate is high.
- Pleural Mesothelioma Misdiagnosis– There are many causes of misdiagnosis because symptoms are not unique to pleural Mesothelioma. Such cases are misdiagnosed as influenza. Chest pain is a common symptom seen in the early stage of the disease. Many patients reported the chest pain issues are dull.
- Peritoneal Mesothelioma Misdiagnosis– This misdiagnosis in peritoneal Mesothelioma is quite common. These carry similar reasons for misdiagnosis. Peritoneal Mesothelioma is misdiagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome.
How do Mesothelioma Symptoms contribute towards the diagnosis?
If you have the history of asbestos exposure, then undergoing cancer screenings will help in mesothelioma diagnosis. Catching the sign of this cancer in the initial stage can provide a better chance of qualifying life-extending cancer treatments and improved survival.
According to one study, finding the early stage of Mesothelioma can help patients in receiving less aggressive treatment including chemotherapy, radiation therapy and others. Patients who undergo this early treatment have 35 months or 3 years more time to live.
The patient should get medical care straight away after recognizing the symptoms to pursue assessment and treatment if needed. Aggressive therapies might be an alternative to enhance prognosis if the disease is discovered, early. After the emergence of the symptoms, the doctors will take a close look at the patient’s medical history and carry out a physical exam as well. Asbestos exposure history might help the doctors to diagnose this disease better.