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What is mesothelioma exactly?

Mesothelioma is a very rare type of cancer that most frequently affects the tissues surrounding the lungs, although it can occur in the tissue that covers any internal organ, particularly the abdomen, heart and testicles. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this type of cancer, and even though some methods of treatment are available, it has fatal results. Those methods of treatment do consist of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and medications, but the main goal is to make the patient as comfortable as possible. However, several new approaches are being tested, and some of them are a combination of traditional methods, while others do offer new methods.

New treatment methods

Immunotherapy is based on the use of the body’s own immune system and on the body’s ability to recognize and differentiate healthy cells from cancerous cells. The goal of this therapy is to repair, stimulate or improve the natural anticancer function of the immune system. Biological response modifiers are substances that are used in this therapy with the purpose to improve the body’s ability to fight mesothelioma.Photodynamic therapy consists of treating the single-celled organisms (and thus cancerous cells as well) with photosensitive drugs first, because this destroys them when they are exposed to fixed frequency light afterwards. Photosensitive drugs are given intravenously, and then cancer cells are exposed to laser light that has the ability to activate photosensitizing agent.Gene therapy is based on modification of the expression of the genes of an individual, so that they would suit the therapeutic goal more. Replacement gene therapy consists of replacing the mutated or missing gene with its normal copy, which further keeps under control the cell growth and division.Knockout gene therapy is focused on the gene that can cause formation of the tumor, its disabling and reduction of the cell growth.Complementary and alternative medicine consists of the use of acupuncture, herbs, therapeutic massage and homeopathy and these methods may be used in combination with conventional medicine and its methods, or alone. A number of patients have reported the improvement of the symptoms, but it is important to discuss this option with the doctor, even though these methods are not available and used in hospitals. It is important to be careful regarding the dietary supplements and herbs and herbal products, because some of them may interfere with the effectiveness of anticancer medications, for example.

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