10 Options in Treating Mesothelioma
As with any cancer, treatment for Mesothelioma depends on the location of the cancer, the progression of the disease, the age as well as state of health of the patient.
It is the oncologist who specializes in the disease who will decide on the line of treatment. The disease is difficult to treat and in most cases the prognosis is poor. Treatment options include:
1. If the diagnosis is done in the early stages surgery may be recommended to remove all cancerous tissues. This means thoracoscopy, VATS or video assisted thoracic surgery, mediastinoscopy (used for staging), or laproscopy. Often, doctors will advise palliative procedures like chest tube drainage and pleurodesis, thoracoscopy and pleurodesis, pleuroperitonial shunt, or pleurectomy, which treat the symptoms of mesothelioma rather than the disease.
2. Radiation is prescribed aggressively for mesothelioma patients and is often given in combination with surgery or in order to control symptoms, palliatively. Research on using radiation therapy using implants or UV light therapy is in progress as traditional radiation therapy damages surrounding healthy tissue.
3. Chemotherapy is an option and around 12-20% of patients respond to the drugs. Anti-cancer drugs destroy cancer cells and prevent their spread. In mesothelioma, chemotherapy is not considered to be curative. The aim is to prevent spread of the disease; shrink the tumor prior to surgery, known as neoadjuvant therapy; to annihilate any remains of the tumor in the body post surgery; and to relieve pain and other discomfort, palliative chemotherapy. Experts recommend prescribing premetrexed along with cisplastin. These drugs have shown positive results and this is now standard care for Mesothelioma not treatable by surgery.