Mesothelioma Treatment Options
Treatment Options for Mesothelioma Depend on the Current Stage of Progression, and Diagnosing Mesothelioma Early (if Possible) Can Greatly Improve the Chances of Recovery
Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer that often fatal. While treatment options are available, and while it is possible to cure mesothelioma in some cases, in most cases treatment focuses on delaying and mitigating the cancer’s effects. This is largely due to the fact that mesothelioma is often not diagnosed until its later stages, when it is already too late to fully remove the cancerous cells through surgery.
8 Potential Treatment Options for Patients Diagnosed with Mesothelioma
Once mesothelioma is diagnosed, the next step is to determine to the extent to which the cancer has spread to the mesothelium surrounding the organs on both sides of the patient’s body. The more the cancer has spread, and the more organs that are affected, the lower the chances are that it will be possible for the patient to fully recover. With this in mind, the primary forms of treatment for mesothelioma are:
Surgery to remove cancerous cells from the body is an option when the cancer has not spread significantly. If it is possible to surgically remove all cancer cells from the body, the patient can be fully cured. In some cases, however, surgery does not focus on curing the patient’s cancer, but instead on mitigating its symptoms, reducing pain, and remedying specific effects (i.e. difficulty breathing).
Chemotherapy involves introducing chemicals that kill cancer cells into the body. It can be used to reduce the size or slow the growth of mesothelioma, and it can also be used prior to surgery in order to improve the chances of a fully successful operation.
Radiation therapy involves using x-rays or protons to kill cancer cells in the body. Similar to chemotherapy, it can be used independently or in conjunction with surgery, and it can be used in an effort to slow the growth of a patient’s cancer, to reduce a patient’s symptoms, or potentially even to kill the remaining cancer cells following surgery.
Immunotherapy involves using drugs that stimulate the body’s natural immune response to fight mesothelioma. It is still considered a relatively novel form of treatment for mesothelioma, although it has proven effective for many patients. Compared to chemotherapy and radiation therapy, immunotherapy causes relatively few side effects, and for this reason it is often considered a good option in cases in which surgical removal of the patient’s mesothelioma is not possible.
In addition to immunotherapy, other drug treatments can be used to attack cancer cells in a patient’s mesothelium as well. These treatments are frequently referred to as forms of “targeted therapy,” because they focus on exploiting specific vulnerabilities in the cancer cells in a patient’s body. Similar to immunotherapy, targeted therapy options focus on symptom mitigation and symptom management rather than curing the patient’s cancer.
Biologic therapy is another relatively novel treatment modality for mesothelioma that has shown promise in several cases. Biologic therapy is a general term that encompasses various treatment options, including:
- Photodynamic therapy
- Thermal therapy
- Introduction of national substance analogues in targeted therapy
Pain Relief and Symptom Management
When it is not possible to cure or slow a patient’s mesothelioma, treatment efforts will eventually transition to focusing entirely on pain relief and symptom management. Pain medications may be administered, along with various other types of cancer drugs. Radiation and chemotherapy treatment may or may not be continued during this phase, and various other forms of palliative care may be offered as well.
Researchers are continuing to look for new ways to cure and treat mesothelioma, and there are several possible treatments that are currently undergoing clinical trials. For example, gene therapy is a possible form of treatment that is currently undergoing clinical trials, and several types of biologic therapies fall into this category as well. For some mesothelioma patients, participating in clinical trials may be desirable. However, before agreeing to participate in a clinical trial, it is important to ensure that you have a clear understanding of the potential risks involved.
Discuss Your Mesothelioma Cancer Claim with an Attorney at Oberheiden Law
At Oberheiden Law, we are committed to helping mesothelioma patients and families cover their medical expenses and secure additional financial compensation for their cancer-related losses. If you have questions about covering the costs of treatment or the additional compensation you may be able to recover by filing a mesothelioma cancer claim, call Oberheiden Law at 866-376-4871 or contact us online to arrange a free initial consultation.