Ways & How

how to treat mesothelioma

how to treat mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is the lining that protects most internal organs in the body. It is a very rare type of cancer which originates from the transformed cells of the mesothelium. The major cause of this disease is exposure to asbestos. Like all cancers, the medical processes on how to treat mesothelioma must be seriously studied. The symptoms and signs of mesothelioma include: difficulty in breathing because of the fluids in-between the chest wall and the lungs, chest wall pain, and an unexplainable sudden drop in weight. The most common site where mesothelioma starts to develop is in the pleura. It can also occur in the lining surface of the abdominal cavity (peritoneum) and in the sac surrounding the testis (tunica vaginalis) and heart (pericardium). The common forms of cancer treatments including; surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are still applicable in addressing mesothelioma. For a detailed discussion about the treatments available, read on below:

  1. X-ray procedure. Also called X-radiation, X-rays are a type of electromagnetic radiation applied to the patient to determine a prior exposure to asbestos.

    The machine sends out individual X-ray particles into the body. The images produced in the process are recorded in a computer using a special film. If asbestos is found, the patient is at risk of developing mesothelioma.

  2. Computerized Tomography scan or Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Both CT scans and MRI tests are capable of creating detailed images of areas affected by cancer cells. The test results can pinpoint the location of tumors which can help during a surgical operation. Further, the procedures can detect the presence of huge amounts of fluid in the affected areas. If found positive, the patient likely is affected with mesothelioma.

  3. Cytology procedure. As mentioned in wisegeek.com, cytology, also called cell biology, is a medical procedure that deals with the composition and structure of cells as well as the interaction of cells. Therefore, the test will analyze the cell structures of the patient to detect the presence of a malignant tumor causing mesothelioma.

  4. Surgical procedure. Pleurectomy is the common surgical procedure for mesothelioma which involves the removal of the lining in the chest. The uncommon surgical procedure is extrapleural pneumonectomy which involves the removal of the pericardium, lung, hemidiaphragm, and the lining inside the chest. This procedure is more extensive compared to the other procedure.

  5. Radiation treatment. This therapy uses high-powered energy rays coming from a machine. The rays are directed to the affected area of the body in order to kill the growing cancer cells therein without damaging other healthy cells. If radiation is done before surgery, the purpose is to reduce the size of the tumor. If performed after surgery, the purpose is to eliminate the remaining cancer cells. Radiation may also be combined with chemotherapy to promote better results.

  6. Chemotherapy. Also called “chemo” for short, this therapy is the only form of treatment that has been proven, so far, to increase the chances of the patient’s survival. Administering a combination of chemo drugs called Cisplatin and Pemetrexed can significantly improve the patient’s survival rate to 13.3 months from 10 months. The therapy, which is generally painless, is divided into a number of sessions. After every session, the patient can go and continue oral medications at home.

  7. Heat intraperitoneal chemotherapy. Paul Sugarbaker of the Washington Cancer Institute was the one who developed this procedure. The treatment involves direct administration of a heated chemotherapy drug after the removal of the tumor. This allows better penetration of drugs into the affected tissues. All in all, the procedure damages more malignant cells than benign cells.

  8. Multimodality therapy. This treatment involves a combination of two or three cancer treatment procedures. In treating malignant pleural mesothelioma, surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are combined. In effect, the patient’s survival may be extended to four years.

Not only is the patient required to learn how to treat mesothelioma, but also those individuals who are at a high risk of contracting the disease. Family members, friends, and relatives must also study the same so they may be able to help and understand the predicament of the patient.


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