There are many types of treatment therapies available for mesothelioma, both conventional and experimental. Mesothelioma Treatment Therapies – Conventional and Experimental ,many of these treatments are not often used in isolation. That is, one treatment is often combined with one or more therapies.
It is common, for instance, for surgery (to remove the tumor) to be followed by chemotherapy or radiotherapy where Mesothelioma Treatment Therapies – Conventional and Experimental
Since most cases of mesothelioma exhibit symptoms already during the advance or malignant stage of the disease, mesothelioma treatment therapies are offered to improve the patient’s quality of life and palliate the pain rather than cure.
Stage of cancer and organ affected, patient’s age and overall health, and potential benefits vs risks of the treatment are the four factors that determine whether a treatment is appropriate for a patient or not.
Conventional therapies available for mesothelomia include:
Surgery: Surgical treatment for Mesothelioma Treatment Therapies may be done for one of the three reasons: for diagnostic reasons, to palliate pain and discomfort caused by tumor, or to cure. Diagnostic surgery is done in order to get mass sample (all or part) for biopsy. Palliative surgery, on the other hand, is done to remove diseased tissues or tumor that has spread beyond the mesothelioma.
It is used also when patient is too ill to undergo any extensive treatment. Surgery for curative reasons is performed in cases where patient is in good health and cancer cells are still localized and can be easily removed. Generally, Mesothelioma Treatment Therapies – Conventional and Experimental this condition is exhibited only when mesothelioma is still in stage I or II.
Chemotherapy is an aggressive form of treatment that involves use of drug to kill cancer cells in the entire body. The drugs are either administered intravenously or taken as a pill.
Chemotherapy usually follows cancer surgery, and is used to kill cancer cells left behind by surgery.
On the downside, chemotherapy drugs also kill some healthy cells that grow as rapidly as the cancer cells. Mesothelioma Treatment Therapies – Conventional and Experimental ,this in the well-known side effects associated with chemotherapy: hair loss, vomiting, loss of appetite, and nausea.
Blood cell counts of patients may also be significantly reduced resulting in increased risk of infection, bleeding, loss of energy, and shortness of breath. Many of these side effects disappear once chemotherapy is stopped. Sometimes, chemotherapy is accompanied antiemetic drugs or treatment for side effects.
Radiotherapy or ionization therapy is use of high levels of ionized energy particles to kill cancer cells and contain their growth. This is also used following a surgery. Depending on their suitability, patients may need to undergo one or more types of radio therapy.
In external radiation therapy, radiation beams from a machine are directed at cancerous areas to kill cancer cells. Brachetherapy involves the use of concentrated dose of radiation placed directly into the site of mesothelomia. This medical process kills tumors while doing little damage to surrounding tissues.
Some forms of mesothelomia treatment therapies are still in their experimental stages. Many of these new treatments are done in conjunction with traditional treatments. Some of these treatments are described below.
Immunotherapy is the process of modulating the body’s immune system, thus turning it into a cancer-fighting tool. This is done in two ways: passive and active.
In passive immunotherapy, patients who do not produce their own anti-cancer immune molecules are administered with drugs such as cytokine and other immune system components in order to kill cancer cells.
Active immunotherapy, on the other hand, is the process of setting an immune system in the patient that will fight cancer cells.
This method involves the removal of mesothelioma cancer cells. The cancer cells are studied in a lab to determine their antigens, the molecules that are found in the cells’ surface.
The cells are then treated to create a vaccine. If an immune reaction against the vaccine is stimulated, the immune system will also work against the cancer cells.
Heated intraoperative intraperitoneal chemotherapy is a more-recent surgical procedure pioneered by Dr. Paul Sugarbaker. This therapy involves removal of tumor followed by injection of chemotherapy agents heated to 40-48 degree Celsius.
Combining chemotherapy with heat has been found to increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy. Studies also show, however, that heated chemotherapy is best for tumor less than 2mm in size.