Doctors are not sufficiently equipped to treat many mesothelioma patients because there is limited knowledge available about the disease and effective methods of treating it. Less than 3,000 people are diagnosed with it each year and the rarity of the disease has made it extremely difficult to study. The prognosis is usually very poor for patients who have developed the cancer and treatment options may be designed to remove the affected area, reduce the size of the tumor or attempt to make patients who are beyond help comfortable for the rest of their lives.
Surgery as an Effective Treatment for Pleural Mesothelioma
There are two types of surgeries that doctors may recommend if the mesothelioma is limited to a patient’s pleura. One surgery removes tumors from the lining of the affected lung in hope that radiation and chemotherapy treatment can prevent the cancer from returning. In more cases than not, the cancer returns when patients elect to undergo this treatment, making it less effective than a pneumonectomy, which is the removal of the entire lung.
Patients who undergo the second type of surgery have an 80% chance that the cancer will not return when radiation or chemotherapy is used before and after the procedure. Not all of the patients diagnosed with mesothelioma may be suited for this surgery, however, as age and other risk factors come into play. Doctors will only recommend surgery for younger patients who have more strength and only one out of five mesothelioma patients undergo surgical procedures.
Radiation therapy has been proven to be an effective means by which to shrink the size of tumors, but the radiation kills both good and bad cells. When radiation is used to treat cancers located in the chest, there is a greater risk of causing more harm than good by damaging the healthy cells in the lungs or the heart. An innovative treatment called intensity-modulated radiotherapy works to target only the unhealthy cells while avoiding cell death in healthy tissue.
Chemotherapy is normally used in tangent with radiation therapy to kill cancer cells and uses medications that are administered orally or intravenously. The medicines target and kill cancer cells and are useful for the reduction in the size of tumors before surgical procedures. This therapy is also an option for patients who are unable to undergo surgery due to age or other health risks.
Scientists are continuing to study mesothelioma and how to treat it effectively and there are many clinical trials available to patients as a result. Therapies include the use of new chemotherapy drugs, altering the way drugs are administered, using a patient’s immune system to fight the cancer and injecting material that bonds to the cancer into a patient’s body before using high intensity lights to kill the cancerous cells.
Most patients diagnosed with mesothelioma are given a poor prognosis and it is rare for patients who develop the cancer to live longer than two years with the disease. Mesothelioma is especially difficult to treat because it spreads to other parts of the body quickly and some patients who are diagnosed may have cancer in multiple areas of the body by the time they seek medical attention. Sometimes the best option is to allow the patient to live his or her final days in as comfortable a state as possible.
Compassionate Attorneys Who Are Willing to Help Guide You Through Mesothelioma Treatment
If you or one of your family members has been diagnosed with mesothelioma and you believe that this condition was brought on by exposure to asbestos while on the job, we may be able to help you collect compensation in the form of damages. To find out more about your rights, contact us today and we will schedule a consultation free of charge. We will fight to make sure that you are rewarded the compensation that you deserve for your condition and that the responsible party is held accountable.