Alternative Treatments

Alternative Mesothelioma Treatments
What are Traditional Mesothelioma Treatment Options?

Diagnosing mesothelioma cancer is difficult. And because the disease is highly cancerous, patients, as well as their loved ones, often have a difficult time addressing the issue of mesothelioma treatment. 

Nearly all mesothelioma sufferers have palliative treatment options available. These mesothelioma treatment options attempt to mitigate the associated symptoms to increase the patient’s quality of life. 

Each mesothelioma patient will be given different treatment options based on their circumstances. Because treatment varies based on circumstance, there is no singular prescribed palliative course for mesothelioma cancer. Due to the cancer’s inconspicuous symptoms, diagnosing the condition at its early stages is often impossible. That being said, common diagnostic imaging techniques, such as CT scans, MRI’s, x-rays and biopsies are administered to determine the level of proliferation and location of the mesothelioma cancer. 

For most mesothelioma patients, the cancer will not be detected until it reaches Stage III or Stage IV. At this time, because of proliferation to vital organs and tissues, the mesothelioma cancer will be regarded as inoperable. Patients with inoperable mesothelioma may only choose from palliative treatment options to bolster comfort during their final years. Palliative treatment options will only mitigate the symptoms to bolster the patient’s quality of life. If mesothelioma cancer, by chance, is detected before the cancer metastasizes, curative mesothelioma treatment options may be administered to extract the cancer from the infected areas. 

Mesothelioma cancer treatment either focuses on destroying the cells of the cancer or easing the symptoms associated with the disease. Both forms of mesothelioma treatment options—palliative and curative-- aim to strengthen the healthy cells that are unaffected by the cancer. Said goals may be accomplished through various mesothelioma treatment options; however, the primary issue stems from an inability to detect the cancer before it proliferates to vital organs of the body. 

Mesothelioma patients often employ a combination of the following three mesothelioma treatment options: chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. The particular course of mesothelioma treatment will depend on the following issues:

• Location of the tumor 

• Form of mesothelioma

• Size of the cancerous tumors

• Degree to which the cancer has spread

• Stage of the cancer (mesothelioma in the 1st stage represents the earliest development, whereas, the 4th stage is inoperable)

• Age of the patient

• Overall of the patient

Employing a mesothelioma treatment plan typically involves several trips to the doctor, including visits to an oncologist, pulmonologist and radiologist. 
Mesothelioma Treatment Options: Surgery

Mesothelioma surgery will be performed on mesothelioma sufferers for one of two reasons: mesothelioma surgery may be employed as an attempt to cure the cancer or for palliative purposes to improve the individual’s quality of life. 

Because malignant mesothelioma cancer is often diagnosed in its latter stages, curative surgeries are not an option. When mesothelioma tumors proliferate outside the pleural cavity or origin location, mitigating symptoms, reducing pain and improving the patient’s quality of life through mesothelioma surgery is the only reason why an operation would be employed. Therefore, the majority of mesothelioma cases that implement surgery do so to mitigate associated symptoms. Patients undergoing mesothelioma surgery will face a similar bleak prognosis to those who do not opt for the palliative operation. Only difference is, their symptoms, particularly those attached to pleural effusion, will have a mitigated impact. 

Although a mesothelioma prognosis is pessimistic, new tests are constantly being developed to help detect the cancer at its earlier stages. If these tests are successful in early detection, mesothelioma surgery will become a viable option to cure the deadly condition. Detecting mesothelioma cancer during its infancy enables a medical professional to extract the cancerous cells and the infected tissue to prevent the disease from evolving. 

Mesothelioma surgery is typically a palliative treatment option. Medical professionals will typically opt for pleurodesis, which involves a talc injection into the lungs. This mesothelioma surgery attempts to impede fluids from returning to pleura cavity. Moreover, thoracentesis may be administered. This is a surgical procedure that extracts fluids from the lungs by means of a long needle. In severe cases, a pleurectomy may be employed to lessen the pain associated with mesothelioma cancer. During this surgery, the lining or protective tissue of the lung is removed to control the agglomeration of fluids, which in turn,  clears the esophagus and breath way. 

Mesothelioma Treatment Options: Radiation

Radiation may be recommended, if the patient’s health is too delicate for surgery or chemotherapy. Malignant mesothelioma cancer radiation yields the fewest side effects of all treatment options. 

Mesothelioma radiation is primarily used in conjunction with other treatments such as an existing chemotherapy regimen. The most preferred type of radiation is external beam radiation. This type of radiation is usually administered 5-days a week for up to 5 weeks. Such a course of action is palliative; external beam radiation lessens the difficulties associated with swallowing, breathing, bleeding and general pain. As a curative mesothelioma option, radiation has; however, shown limited efficacy. Brachytherapy radiation, although rarely employed, may also be chosen by a medical professional. This radiation treatment option injects radioactive materials inside the patient’s lungs or chest cavity. 

Mesothelioma Treatment Options: Chemotherapy

Mesothelioma chemotherapy is a palliative option. Mesothelioma chemotherapy does not cure the cancer; however, it is extremely efficient in reducing associated symptoms. As a means to combat mesothelioma, a medical professional will recommend several Chemotherapy drugs. These drugs are either injected into the patient or ingested in pill form. Medical professionals will combine a number of these drugs to ease the patient’s pain. One drug will serve as the primary cytotoxin, while the other will serve as an alkalizing agent to fortify surrounding cells. 

Presently, the only chemotherapy combination approved by the Food and Drug Administration is Cisplatin and Pemetrexed. In addition to these drugs, other medicines are given to the mesothelioma patient to relieve the nausea and vomiting that is common with chemotherapy. 

Mesothelioma Treatment Options: Clinical Trials

Clinical trials refer to the study of new treatments for specific diseases. Clinical trials require patients who are willing to try experimental treatments before they can be approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Before taking any experimental drug, a patient should first consult with their doctor.  

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