Mesothelioma Treatment Options

Mesothelioma is a serious and deadly disease that can be difficult to diagnose. Because the effects of asbestos exposure sometimes take as much as 30 years to develop victims may not remember to mention this to their doctor. As a result mesothelioma is often mis-diagnosed.

If you exhibit any of these symptoms, or have valid concerns about the disease, a Mesothelioma litigator refer you to a medical professional with mesothelioma experience to get a chest x-ray and/or a CT scan done. If you are discovered of a change in the chest x-ray or the scan showing a suspicion of the malignancy, a biopsy and other confirmative investigations thereof will be performed to ascertain the presence of malignancy.

Today’s Preferred Treatments

As with any type of cancer, there are a number of options available for mesothelioma treatment. Here are some of the treatment options that are often recommended by healthcare professionals with experience in this area:

Surgery

The types of surgery most often used to treat mesothelioma are complicated, invasive and very serious procedures. They may involve removal of a portion or an entire lung as well as the pleura in the chest cavity. And while these surgeries may help extend the life of a patient with mesothelioma, they are rarely successful in curing the disease or providing meaningful long term recovery.

Some patients who are in the early stages of the disease may opt for the surgery and its potential benefits but patients in poor health generally cannot undergo a significant surgery of this type.

Chemotherapy

Patients in various stages of this disease often choose chemotherapy as their optimal mesothelioma treatment. However, the chemotherapy drugs used on other forms of cancer, injected into a vein or swallowed by the asbestos cancer patient, have thus far been ineffective at slowing the long-term spread of mesothelioma.

Current clinical trials are attempting to deliver the drugs in a new way, often directly into the lung cavity, in the hopes that this will make chemotherapy a more effective means of mesothelioma treatment.

This may be used alone or in conjunction with surgery to treat the mesothelioma – as the combination of both chemo and surgery together has shown better results.

Heated Intraoperative Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy

This treatment was created by Dr. Paul Sugarbaker at the Washington Cancer Institute. Combining elements of many treatments, this method involves the removal of as much cancer tissue as possible. Immediately following the surgical removal, chemotherapy is administered. This allows the chemotherapy to attack cancer at its weakest state. Unfortunately, the human body is also at its weakest state in this method, so careful thought and deliberation is put into the risks involved with the treatment.

Radiation Therapy

This is another potential mesothelioma treatment option for patients. It can be used as the primary form of treatment or as a compliment to surgery as well.

One of the major problems with using traditional radiation therapy that uses x-rays emitted from a machine as a form of mesothelioma treatment is that mesothelioma does not usually present itself in well-defined tumors. This makes it difficult to direct the radiation toward the diseased tissues without affecting the healthy tissues nearby.

Newer radiation technologies such as intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3DCRT), however, are able to aim the radiation more accurately. This reduces side effects while potentially increasing effectiveness, making this a viable choice for mesothelioma treatment.

Photodynamic Therapy

This is a newer mesothelioma treatment that potentially has fewer side effects than other treatments, but has not been fully tested and proven at this point.

A specific drug is injected into the mesothelioma patient’s veins. This drug is uniquely designed to attach to cancerous cells and to kill the cells it is attached to once it is activated by a certain type of light. Several days after the drug has been injected into the patient, it is activated by exposing the parts of the body affected by mesothelioma to the special light. Only the areas exposed to light will be activated, so only the parts of the body with mesothelioma are affected. Since the light can be aimed so directly, damage to healthy tissue is minimized, potentially resulting in fewer side effects than a treatment that is not as localized.

Targeted Drugs

These drugs target specific functions related to cancer cells, such as the growth of new blood vessels or breaking down a particular part of the cells RNA so it will die at the right time. They work differently than traditional chemotherapy drugs and generally have fewer side effects.

These have been shown to extend the lives of mesothelioma patients, but they have only been used in small trials. They are awaiting larger trials to get FDA approval in order to be available to all patients affected by asbestos cancer (mesothelioma).

Other Treatment Options:

In addition to the standard treatments of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery, newer treatments have been developed, catching the eye of Mesothelioma litigators around the country. The first of these relatively new methods of treating the disease is immunotherapy.

About Immunotherapy:

The treatment works in a simple way—since most diseases that attack the body do not respond to an inoculation of Bacillus Calmette-Guérin, Mesothelioma ravaged cells do. The results of this particular treatment have actually been somewhat positive. Unfortunately, this method also has its downside. By inoculating the cell in a human, the body becomes susceptible to unacceptably high levels of IL-2 (a toxin). This level of toxic danger can kill a person, or at the very least cause a severe fever. Naturally, doctors feel that this puts too much strain on the body and can do more harm than good.

Let us lend you our experience dealing with mesothelioma

If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos, or diagnosed with mesothelioma, please contact us as soon as possible. Our attorneys have extensive experience with current mesothelioma treatments and can help you understand your legal and medical options.

The law firm of Landry & Swarr has extensive experience handling mesothelioma cases and other asbestos-related diseases. We can help you find doctors to help secure the best treatment possible as well as prepare a legal case to get your family the maximum settlement to help with the financial burden. We serve families throughout Louisiana and can be found in New Orleans, LA or be calling 866-275-8706.