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What is mesothelioma exactly?

Mesothelioma is a very rare type of cancer that most frequently affectsthe tissues surrounding the lungs, although it can occur in the tissue thatcovers 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 treatmentare available, it has fatal results. Those methods of treatment do consist ofsurgery, radiation, chemotherapy and medications, but the main goal is to makethe patient as comfortable as possible. However, several new approaches arebeing tested, and some of them are a combination of traditional methods, whileothers do offer new methods.

New treatment methods

Immunotherapy is based on the use of the body’s own immunesystem and on the body’s ability to recognize and differentiate healthy cells fromcancerous cells. The goal of this therapy is to repair, stimulate or improve thenatural anticancer function of the immune system. Biological response modifiersare substances that are used in this therapy with the purpose to improve thebody’s ability to fight mesothelioma.Photodynamic therapy consists of treating the single-celledorganisms (and thus cancerous cells as well) with photosensitive drugs first, becausethis destroys them when they are exposed to fixed frequency light afterwards. Photosensitivedrugs are given intravenously, and then cancer cells are exposed to laser lightthat has the ability to activate photosensitizing agent.Gene therapy is based on modification of the expression ofthe genes of an individual, so that they would suit the therapeutic goal more. Replacementgene therapy consists of replacing the mutated or missing gene with its normalcopy, which further keeps under control the cell growth and division.Knockout genetherapy is focused on the gene that can cause formation of the tumor, itsdisabling and reduction of the cell growth.Complementary and alternative medicine consists of the use ofacupuncture, herbs, therapeutic massage and homeopathy and these methods maybe used in combination with conventional medicine and its methods, or alone. A numberof patients have reported the improvement of the symptoms, but it is importantto discuss this option with the doctor, even though these methods are notavailable and used in hospitals. It is important to be careful regarding thedietary supplements and herbs and herbal products, because some of them mayinterfere with the effectiveness of anticancer medications, for example.

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