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Home > Traditional mesothelioma treatment
Traditional mesothelioma treatment
There are some types of mesothelioma traditional treatment:
Treatment can prolong your life and make you more comfortable. The traditional therapies used in cancer treatment are the mainstay of mesothelioma treatment. These treatments are used alone and in combination to reduce the damage mesothelioma causes to your body.
The type of treatment that is right for you depends on several factors. The best options for treatment can only be determined after a thorough evaluation by your medical team. An oncologist is a cancer specialist and will most likely lead the process. You may also see a radiologist, pulmonary therapists and an oncology-nursing specialist. To help you cope with discomfort and the emotions stirred up by a serious illness, a social worker can also be a part of your care team. Learn more about the finding a medical team that is experienced in caring for people with mesothelioma.
The size and location of your tumor and the stage of your cancer must first be determined. To determine the stage of your cancer, MRI and CT scans are used. These tests are excellent at helping your doctor visualize the size, location and extend of any lung tumors. Other specialized testing using radionuclides can help tell if the disease has spread, or metastasized outside of the chest and abdominal cavities.
Cancer treatment focuses on destroying the malignant cells while preserving the healthy ones. This can be achieved by chemical or physical means that wipe out the tumor cells. These treatment modalities can be used alone, or in combination to have the strongest effect on the disease. When an additional therapy is added to the main treatment for cancer it is called adjuvant therapy.
Surgery is a common treatment for mesothelioma. It is not an option unless the cancer is limited to one place and unless the person can withstand the surgery. During surgery, the physician may remove a portion of the lining of the chest (pleurectomy) or abdomen (peritonectomy) and some of the tissue surrounding it. Depending on theextent the disease has spread, a lung may also require removal (extrapleural pneumonectomy).
Occasionally, a portion of the diaphragm is taken out as well. If treatment is not possible, other less invasive measures can be used to relieve the patient's symptoms. For example, a needle placed into the chest cavity (thoracentesis) can remove excess fluid in the chest. If recurrence of fluid causes symptoms, a nonsurgical or surgical method can be used to scar the lining of lung cavity and cause it to adhere to the lung.
The procedure obliterates the pleural space and thus prevents the fluid from reaccumulating. (This procedure is called sclerosis or sclerotherapy.) These methods are called palliative, for they are not meant to cure the cancer but to improve symptoms.
Surgical treatments are divided into two categories. The first is palliative procedures designed to treat the symptoms of Mesothelioma. The second is potentially curative procedures designed to remove the gross disease while recognizing that the microscopic disease will still remain.
Palliative procedures do not attempt to treat the Mesothelioma itself, instead these procedures focus on relieving the symptoms of the disease. Pleurodesis, or chest tube drainage is used to drain the buildup of fluid resulting from pleural effusion, a common symptom of Mesothelioma. When the pleural effusion cannot be controlled by pleurodesis, your medical team may suggest a pleurectomy. This procedure is considered the most effective method of managing pleural effusion when the disease has advanced to the later stages.
Radiation treatment , which gives the benefit of treating the affected area without exposing the healthy cells and tissue, is another treatment used to treat mesothelioma. This is a speedy and commonly used method for many types of cancer, as well as mesothelioma. It works through the placements of radioactive sources in the affected area, which then give out radiation to kill off the abnormal cells. The radiation continues to transmit for around a year, working to destroy the tumour. Radiation therapy can be used alongside surgery, or if the patient is not well enough for surgery can be used alone.
Radiotherapy, as the treatment is commonly referred to, uses ionizing radiation to control the growth of cancerous, malignant cells. Like chemotherapy, radiotherapy is considered a palliative treatment, designed to control and localize the spread of cancerous cells while providing symptomatic relief. Radiotherapy is often used in concert with surgery in Mesothelioma patients.
Chemotherapy treatments can be administered in the form of pills or injected medication. The downside of chemotherapy is that the drugs used can contain high toxicity levels and can therefore make patients quite ill. Side effects can include nausea, vomiting, hair loss, weight loss and physical fatigue. There are also a number of post-chemo drugs that are used to alleviate the side effects of the chemotherapy.
Because chemotherapy drugs are not targeted towards a specific area, they are left to make their way through the body and find the affected area. This means that they are also able to affect tissue and cells that are unaffected by the disease, which can again cause side effects.
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