There is currently no known cure for mesothelioma but there are different treatment options used to slow down the progression of this disease and to help manage pain and symptoms. If a patient is diagnosed early, a treatment plan can be developed to improve the prognosis. The focus of the treatment plan is usually to help with pain if the cancer is in a more advanced stage.
Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation are the most common treatments used. A combination of treatments is often used and the treatment plan is adapted to each patient. The treatment plan usually depends on where the cancer is located and on how advanced it is. Chest X-rays, blood work and a biopsy are usually needed to get a proper diagnosis and to determine how advanced the cancer is.
Surgery is often used if a patient is diagnosed at an early stage. Surgery is used to remove the tumor and sometimes to remove the mesothelioma lining that has built up in the lungs or abdomen. Surgery can be used to remove lymph nods or a lung. Other procedures are used to eliminate fluid that builds up in the lungs, chest or around the heart. Surgery can be used to eliminate a cancerous tumor or to improve quality of life by getting rid of fluids.
Chemotherapy And Other Drugs
Chemotherapy works by targeting cancer cells. Patients often take chemotherapy drugs after a surgical procedure to eliminate remaining cancerous cells that were not removed during surgery. Other medications are usually prescribed to help with pain or to attenuate breathing problems.
X-rays or other types of rays are used to target cancerous cells. This treatment is often used to shrink a tumor before removing it surgically. Radiation therapy is usually needed in more advanced stages if the tumor is too large to be removed.
Most treatment plans include palliative care to help with pain and provide the patient with the support they need to undergo their treatment. Palliative care usually includes medication to manage pain and physical therapy to recover from one of the treatments listed above. Treatment plans can for instance include massages, yoga, strength training, fatigue management and a nutrition plan. Palliative care really varies from one patient to another and you need to play an active role in deciding what kind of palliative care you want to receive.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, seek a second professional opinion. You should also consider meeting with a specialist to develop a treatment plan that is adapted to your needs. Thoracic oncologists are a good option since these professionals specialize in cancers of the chest.
Even though there is no cure for mesothelioma, there are different mesothelioma treatments that can improve your prognosis as well as your quality of life. There are also clinical trials and alternative treatments that you might want to explore. Talk to your doctor about your treatment options or ask to be referred to a specialist so you can start working on a personalized treatment plan.