There are several methods of treatment for mesothelioma although none of these have a high success rate. In general, the chances of curing a mesothelioma patient depends on how much the cancer has developed and matured when treated. If tackled aggressively in its early stages, there is a good chance of survival. Due to the difficulty of diagnosing mesothelioma in its early stages, many mesothelioma treatments focus on improving the quality of life for patients.
Before a patient is treated upon, a doctor will decide what the best course of treatment is by considering the patient’s age, medical history, general well being and even weight. From here, the doctor will decide which of the three most common treatments are most suited to the patient’s condition. These treatments are surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Surgery comes in two different types. Aggressive surgery is treatment which aims to gain long term control against the cancer and palliative procedures which aims to just relieve the patient of symptoms.
Aggressive surgery involves removing the pleura, the lung, the diaphragm and the pericardium. This procedure is known as extra pleural pneumonectomy. The aim of this is to remove as much of the tumour as possible without harming the patient. However, this is a very risky type of surgery and the chances are high of patient fatality within a month. Due to this, only young, fit individuals are referred to this form of treatment. Palliative procedures involve removing just the pleura in order to control the symptoms of the cancer. This is performed when mesothelioma is in an advanced form and is impossible to cure.
This is the most commonly known cure of cancer. Chemotherapy uses drugs to treat mesothelioma although many of these drugs have a poor success rate on patients. Combinations of drugs are often used to improve their effect. Some of these combinations have proved to be effective. Chemotherapy of mesothelioma is being improved regularly as research labs and pharmaceutical companies are discovering new and more effective drugs.
Radiation therapy uses radiation to kill the tumour which mesothelioma creates. However, this procedure is extremely difficult because of where the tumour grows. Due to the closeness of the tumour and many vital internal organs such as the heart and lungs, doctors have to be very careful as to the doses of radiation they use. Lower radiation doses can be used however this lowers its effectiveness.
This is often used and is just a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy combined. Surgery removes the majority of the tumour cells while chemotherapy and radiation therapy work on removing the remainder. This is an effective method and also lessens the symptoms of the cancer.