Mesothelioma is a disease of the lungs caused by asbestos. Its symptoms are very grave and often makes patients very uncomfortable. It is very important and helpful to the patient to discover the disease on time otherwise the prognosis will be poor and the patient dies. For some reasons, women stand a better chance of surviving the disease than disease. This perhaps is due to some underling genetic factor. Over the years, scientists and researchers have come up with various methods of treating Mesothelioma. Of all the various methods the three most common treatment options include: the use of surgical intervention, the use of radiation techniques and chemotherapy intervention. The normal practise is to combine this treatment strategies so as to get good response. Let us now take an indept look at this modes of treatment one after the other.
Surgery in mesothelioma can be done by wide local excision or pleurodesis. wide local excision is a kind of procedure used to remove a small area of diseased tissue with some areas of normal, undiseased tissue. This type of surgery is normally performed on the breast and to skin lesions. Pleurodesis on the other hand, is a surgical procedure in which the pleural space is artificially obliterated. This is done to prevent the reoccurence of pnemothorax or pleural effusion caused by mesothelioma. Pleurodesis can also be done by the use of chemicals without surgical intervention. We now proceed to discuss chemotherapy as a treatment option in mesothelioma..
Chemotherapy is the simply the use of chemicals namely drugs to kill cancer cells. Drugs may be administered orally through other routes of administrtion such as directly into the spinal column. The drug of choice in treating mesothelioma is permetrexed( trade name: Alimta). It is administered in a 21 day cycle. Permetrexed is however not alone but combined with a platinum based compound called cisplatin for synergism. Patients on Alimta will be expected to also take folic acid and vitamin B12 to lower the side effects. Other chemodrugs include: vinorelbine, onconase, gemcitabine, e.t.c. Common side-effects of chemodrugs are: nausea and vomitting, constipation, fever, decreased white blood cell count which makes the patient prone to infections, and depression.
Radiation in mesothelioma may be internal or external. Internal radiation is also known as brachythereapy. Here, the internal radiation source is implanted within the patient. The external radiation involves an external beam radiation. Radiation is particularly useful against cancers that divide rapidly such as mesothelioma.
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