Finding the Best Solutions for this Tricky Cancer
When you are dealing with Mesothelioma, you don't have a lot of different options for treatment in most cases. The way that this condition presents, combined with its known latency period that can last between 4 and 5 decades, makes it very difficult to treat effectively. Patients can experience many types of this condition, and while 75% of cases present in the lungs, it can also be diagnosed in the abdomen or heart. Finding the right treatment is all about understanding the type of Mesothelioma that is present, its stage of development, and where it is located in the body.
This is a very uncommon cancer in the grand scheme of things. Therefore, it often goes undiagnosed for a long time, or it is misdiagnosed because the odds of actually having it are so rare. Once a suspected diagnosis of Mesothelioma is present, the doctor will order tests to figure out exactly what is going on. Make sure that if you have had exposure to asbestos in your lifetime and you present with common symptoms, you note this so that you have a better chance of getting the right diagnosis for more effective treatment options.
Mesothelioma doesn't have a particularly good outlook for patients who are suffering from the condition. There are plenty of elements that affect your survival rate and initial prognosis, including things like:
-The size and stage of the cancer
-Whether surgery is an option
-The type of Mesothelioma that is diagnosed
-The age and health of the patient
-Initial diagnosis vs. a secondary case after treatment and remission
There are many different treatment options for this condition, depending on various factors like those mentioned previously. In most cases, radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery are the standard treatment options. Of course, this cancer usually requires an aggressive combination treatment for the best possible results.
There are four types of surgery that are used to treat Mesothelioma. An excision will remove the cancer and some of the healthy tissue to make sure that the cancer is completely gone. This is effective, but rarely an option because the cancer has spread too far by the time of diagnosis. Pluerectomy and decortication, which is a procedure that removes the lining of the lungs and other areas that are affected, is another option. In some cases, doctors will remove an entire lung, as well as parts of the diaphragm and the lining of the pericardium, which protects the heart. The final procedure involves using chemicals and drugs to create scarring in the lung lining. That stops the buildup of fluid in this disease.
Like most cancers, Mesothelioma can be treated using radiation in many cases. This helps kill the cancer cells, but can cause a lot of side effects that are less than desirable. Because of the advanced stage that is usually present at diagnosis, most people require aggressive radiation therapy combined with medications or surgery to get the best treatment possible.
Chemotherapy, which is administered orally or by injection, is effective at stopping the cells from growing and spreading. This treatment can be done with pills, IV treatments, or intramuscular injections, which will help ensure that the cells are killed or stopped in the right area. In many cases, combination chemotherapy is employed because multiple drugs have a better chance of killing the disease than a single drug alone
Choosing the Right Treatment
It starts by talking to your doctor and developing a treatment plan. The type of Mesothelioma that you have, combined with other factors, will determine the right solution for your best prognosis.
Bob Hartzell is a freelance writer who writes on topics of education, health and law. More recently he has focused on small cell lung cancer as it pertains to mesothelioma cancer.