Mesothelioma treatment depends on the stage of the cancer,its location, but also on the patient’s age and his or her specific desires. Afterthe diagnosis, patients’ life expectancy is up to one year, or up to 5 years, accordingto some cancer centers.
To determine cancer site, doctors will use different tests,such as: simple blood test (for patients suffering from biphasic or epitheloidmesothelioma), then X-rays, CT (computed tomography) or MRI (magnetic resonanceimaging) scans. Another useful screening test is in use since January 2007, andit’s known as Mesomark assay test.
Conventional Treatment for Mesothelioma
Various surgical procedures and removal of the chest lining,entire lung, part of the sac surrounding the heart or diaphragm are availabletreatment options.
Thorascopy, medistinoscopy, laproscopy are some of theprocedures. Thorascopy involves insertion of endoscope in the pleural cavity,enabling the doctor to see the tumor directly, looking through endoscope’scamera. During the procedure, specialists can perform a biopsy of the tissue ordrain the fluid in the intrapleural space.
Mediastinoscopy is used in patients who have been diagnosedwith enlarged nodes, and doctors need to stage the cancer. In cases when cancerhas penetrated through diaphragm, specialists will use laparoscopy.
Radiation treatments are usually performed with high dosesof high energy rays, like X rays, which can kill cancerous cells. Mesotheliomasare usually resistant to radiation, but the treatment can still be used to easesome of the symptoms patients may have. Specialists apply radiotherapy on thesites of chest drain insertion, because these are spots where tumor can grow.
Chemotherapy is used as the treatment able to stop the growthand division of cancer cells. There is a treatment known as heatedintraoperative intraperitoneal chemotherapy. It requires removal of the tumor(to the extent it can be removed) and then administration of chemotherapy drug.The drug is heated to the temperature of 40 to 48 degrees Celsius and it isgiven directly into the abdomen, for an hour or two. After that time, the drugis drained from the abdomen.
Pleurectomy and pleuroperitoneal shunt are palliativeprocedures for patients suffering from mesothelioma.
Other Treatments for Mesothelioma
Some procedures are considered to be potentially curativefor mesothelioma, and as such doctors recognize pleurectomy/decortications,cytoreductive surgery and extrapleural pneumonectomy. Treatments may also includesome new or experimental therapies, like vaccine, gene or photodynamic (PDT) therapies.
Clinical trials are used for research of potential treatmentsand drugs, but also diagnosis and prevention measures that might work fordiseases and disorders, and also for various cancers, including mesothelioma. Everystudy has specific guidelines for participation in them, and patients shoulddiscuss their potential involvement in the studies with their doctors, prior toany decision.