Chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery are the most common treatments for mesothelioma. Since there are several therapies to ponder upon when choosing an option for treatment of mesothelioma, you should consider every one of them as soon as possible after being diagnosed. Considering only one certain option could cause you to miss out on the potential benefits of the others.
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According to the degree of advancement of mesothelioma cancer, surgery may be an option for removing the cancer, the tissue encompassing it, or both. Often, surgery is deemed inappropriate, and only slightly invasive methods can be used to relieve and lessen the symptoms of mesothelioma. An example of this is using thoracentesis to make a patient more comfortable. This is a technique in which any lingering chest cavity fluid is removed through the insertion of a hollow needle into the chest and the subsequent withdrawal of the chest cavity fluid. At times, doctors may inject a talc or an antibiotic into the chest cavity to decrease the chances of the fluid returning to the chest.
For controlling the chest cavity fluid level, 90% of patients have found these methods successful. Since fluid therein can cause lung compression, leading to shortness of breath, these procedures often result in the patient being able to breathe more easily than before. Still, none of these methods are able to cure the mesothelioma itself.
There are two main reasons for proceeding with mesothelioma surgery; one is palliative, and the other is curative. Palliative surgery is aimed at relieving the pain and the discomfort caused by the tumor. Curative surgery is meant to totally remove the localized mesothelioma tumor.
Radiation therapy utilizes X-rays having high amounts of energy to kill cells that are cancerous in the body. External beam radiation therapy is radiation sent from an external source to focus on the cancerous cells. This type of radiation therapy is often used to treat mesothelioma, and it is reminiscent of the diagnostic x-ray procedure, except for the fact that more time is needed from the patient. Another type of radiation therapy is brachytherapy, wherein radioactive materials are inserted directly into the abdomen or the chest at the point where the mesothelioma resides. Radiation therapy may be used by some patients as their primary source of treatment for their mesothelioma cancer, especially if the patients are not able to physically endure surgery.
Chemotherapy is a procedure that uses medical drugs to treat cancer. The drugs are administered either in pill form and taken orally or as muscular or ventricular injections. Chemotherapy is a form of systemic therapy, which is a therapy through which the drug can enter into the body’s bloodstream and thereby distribute itself throughout the whole system of the body so that it can arrive at and destroy the cells which are cancerous.
The drugs to treat mesothelioma may be administered straight into the chest cavity, or intrapleurally, in addition to intraperitoneally, or straight into the abdominal cavity. According to the certain type of mesothelioma and the degree of its progression, a doctor may utilize chemotherapy as the primary treatment, or as a helpful supplement to surgery.
An additional method of treatment that may enable patients having asbestos cancer to improve more easily after surgery is physical therapy. It may also assist patients in the recovering from the side effects caused by radiation therapy and chemotherapy.