Immediately following a mesothelioma diagnosis, the most important next step is deciding which are the best treatment options. Because this disease is so rare, it is frequently diagnosed in the late stages and the treatment options aren’t as abundant as they are for other types of cancer.
Only about 3,000 people a year are diagnosed with asbestos-induced cancers, which develops as a result of asbestos exposure. This makes developing good treatment difficult. There simply aren’t enough patients available to perform adequate scientific studies on treatments. However, there are several asbestos specialists nationwide who have made treatment their life’s work. They have pioneered innovative treatment options for patients in all stages of the disease.
Need Help Finding Treatment?
Get help finding a top mesothelioma doctor or treatment facility in your area right now!
Although there is no known cure for asbestos cancer, doctors are focused on giving patients the best quality of life. Advances in science have allowed patients to live longer, fuller lives with the disease than ever before.
Most patients are prescribed some form of conventional treatments, whether they are used in an attempt to eradicate the disease or for palliative measures:
Surgery - In the early disease stage, surgery is used to remove diseased tissue as a way to eliminate the cancer. One of the more common types of treatment for pleural asbestos-cancer is the controversial extrapleural pneumonectomy, which removes the diseased lung and surrounding tissue. Some doctors say this surgery is too extreme for some patients. However, the doctor who invented the procedure, Dr. David Sugarbaker, stands by his work, pointing to the success he has had thus far. By later stages, surgery is used to cut away bulky tumors to reduce pain. The newest of these surgeries is cytoreductive surgery, which debulks tumors, coupled with heated chemotherapy. Many doctors say that heated chemotherapy is more effective in killing cancer cells.
Chemotherapy - This is the use of specialized drugs to kill cancer cells. It is used in both disease eradication and palliative care. There are several commonly used chemotherapy drugs for asbestos-cancer patients:
- Cisplatin - When combined with Pemetrexed, it is considered the most effective treatment for pleural patients.
- Gemcitabine - This is most commonly used for some types of mesothelioma, including peritoneal. This could be a better drug for patients who don’t respond to Cisplatin and Pemetrexed.
- Doxorubicin - This chemotherapy agent is commonly used heated and placed inside the chest or abdominal cavity.
Radiation - This uses targeted X-ray beams to kill cancer in specific locations. There are several types that are used specifically for asbestos-cancer treatment:
- External Beam - For this, patients are placed under the radiation machine. It directs beams of radiation to specific tumor sites.
- Intraoperative Radiation - Used during a surgical procedure, radiation beams are focused directly on the cancerous area.
Multimodal Treatment - Many doctors opt for a combination of all three previous treatments treatments, called multimodal treatment. In some cases, two or three treatments work best for an individual patient’s symptoms.
When deciding which conventional treatment is best for your disease, it is important to have a skilled asbestos-cancer specialist who can guide your care.
Complementary and Alternative Medicines (CAMs)
When it comes to choosing unconventional treatments, many doctors look to a CAM regime that will be healthful and invigorating. In mainstream medicine, most CAM treatments are not meant to cure asbestos cancers, but some unorthodox CAM treatments do exist. Today, doctors have embraced the more sound CAM treatments and incorporate them into their practices:
These types of treatments are more unusual and are typically not endorsed by mainstream physicians. Some alternative medicines are aimed at curing the disease.
All patients are encouraged to seek professional advice before starting a CAM treatment. Your physician can help you make the best decision for your future.
Nutrition & Essential Nutrients
Keeping a healthy diet and sound nutrition is important for anyone, including asbestos-cancer patients. While a good diet and nutrition will not cure the disease, it gives patients the stamina and immune defenses they need. Doctors say that good nutrition is important because it fuels the body. This allows patients to stay on track with treatment.
Poor nutrition can compromise the immune system, making patients more susceptible to infection. There are several things that effect nutritional intake, including lack of appetite, type of cancer and drug side effects.
Many asbestos-cancer patients, especially those who are suffering with stomach-related cancer, must undergo nutrition therapy. This helps manage the nutritional losses and uses a variety of ways to improve nutrition and nutrient intake.
Advantages of Clinical Trials
For asbestos-cancer patients who are in the later stages of thedisease, some of the best hope comes in the form of clinical trials. Later-stage patients often don’t have many treatment options, so clinical trials allow them to be on the cutting edge of technology and future medical advances.
American Cancer Society. “Chemotherapy for Malignant Mesothelioma.” Retrieved from http://www.cancer.org/cancer/malignantmesothelioma/detailedguide/malignant-mesothelioma-treating-chemotherapy
National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health. “Overview of Nutrition in Cancer Care.” Retrieved from http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/supportivecare/nutrition/patient