Treatment Options for Mesothelioma
Asbestos exposure is the primary risk factor for mesothelioma and it can take 20 to 60 years to develop after exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma can also be contracted by living with someone who comes in contact with asbestos brings the fibers home on their clothing, which over years can put others at risk for developing the cancer. Additionally, if there is a history of mesothelioma in your family, you could possibly be at a higher risk for developing it.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Some general signs of Mesothelioma include fever, excessive sweating, fatigue, weight loss, blood clots, and loss of appetite. As for other types of mesothelioma such as Pleura mesothelioma (of the chest), you may be experiencing pain in the chest, shortness of breath, cough, trouble swallowing, hoarseness, and swelling of the face and arms. If you are experiencing these symptoms, especially if you may have been exposed to asbestos, it is recommended to contact your health care provider immediately.
For most people, mesothelioma cannot be cured, but there are treatments available to help reduce some of the signs and symptoms. Mesothelioma is generally discovered at a later stage, which makes it harder to remove the cancer, however, there are other ways to at least control the cancer
When proceeding through treatment for cancer, many different people may be involved. The doctors assigned to your team will all depend on what stage of cancer you are in and treatment options. A thoracic surgeon deals with lungs and chest surgery having to do with diseases. A surgical oncologist utilizes surgery to treat cancer, a radiation oncologist is brought in to assist with radiation therapy, a medical oncologist uses chemotherapy to treat cancer, and a pulmonologist focuses on medical treatment of diseases of the lungs. If the mesothelioma is caught at an early stage, surgery could be an option. It might not be possible to remove all the cancer, but by removing what can be removed will decrease the signs and symptoms.
The Mayo Clinic emphasizes 4 different surgical options:
1. Decrease fluid buildup
Fluid buildup in the chest is caused by the Pleural type of mesothelioma. This surgery consists of the surgeon inserting a tube into the chest to drain the fluid. Medicine may also be injected to prevent the fluid form returning.
2. Remove tissue around the lungs
By removing the tissue lining from the ribs and lungs it may relieve signs and symptoms.
3. Remove a lung and the surrounding tissue
This will help relieve signs and symptoms of pleural mesothelioma. Additionally, if receiving chemotherapy following the procedure, it will allow doctors to use higher doses as they will not have to be concerned about damaging your lung from the radiation.
4. Surgery for peritoneal mesothelioma
Surgeons will attempt to remove as much as the cancer as the can.
This treatment kills cancer cells by utilizing chemicals. These chemicals run through the body and will shrink or slow down the growth of the cancer that cannot be removed by a surgeon. Chemotherapy could also be used in conjunction with a surgery, either before or after, in order to either make removing the cancer in surgery easier or diminish the chance of the cancer returning.
High-energy beams are focused on specific areas of the body containing the cancer. The beams are usually from X-rays and protons and will help kill cancer cells still left in the body.
Combining treatments for mesothelioma can often give the patient a longer life expectancy. This type of treatment usually consists of some sort of tumor-removing surgery combined with chemotherapy and radiation. Treatment options of multimodal therapy fall into three categories,mostly depending on the timing between each separate treatment. These categories include Neoadjuvant therapy, Primary therapy, and Adjuvant therapy. Primary therapy is the most effective option. It consists of surgery, and usually a targeted treatment right after the tumor is removed.
If none of the above treatments are a good fit. There are a few more options.
• Immunotherapy – Sometimes your body’s disease-fighting immune system can be blinded by certain proteins created by the cancer cells. This prevents your immune system from attacking the cancer cells. By using immunotherapy, this process will be interfered allowing your immune system to fight the cancer.
• Targeted therapy – This treatment utilizes drugs that will attack certain vulnerabilities within the cancer cells. This treatment is not often used for mesothelioma but based on the specific DNA testing of the tumor, may be recommended by your doctor.
DEALING WITH THE SYMPTOMS
A major symptom of mesothelioma is breathlessness. That pressure and shortness of breath can be very distressing. Doctors may recommend medications or oxygen but combining those recommendations with the following alternative methods can result in better results.
These methods include:
2. Breath Training
3. Relaxation Exercises
4. Sitting Near a Fan
WHITESIDE & GOLDBERG, LTD.
Whiteside and Goldberg have over 50 years of experience in Chicago personal injury law. They know how to deal with tough cases in the greater Chicago area and have a wealth of experience handling cases involving mesothelioma and lung cancer.
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