There are many treatment options for people who have mesothelioma cancer. Before you decide to get any major operation done, it’s best that you are at least familiar with all the options available to you.
Treatment for mesothelioma varies depending on the stage you are in. As you may know, there are four stages of mesothelioma, stage 1 being the earliest and has the most treatment options. Most of the time, symptoms show when patients are already in the second stage, but stage 2 mesothelioma is fairly easy to handle as the cancer cells have not spread to many parts of the body.
Factors to Consider When Getting Treatment
The mesothelioma stage is not the sole factor in determining whether you are a candidate for certain treatments or not. Your overall health and age will be considered because doctors have to check if your body is in good condition. Some people who have aged considerably are not eligible for surgery or chemotherapy. This means that their body is not strong enough to withstand the procedure that will take place.
Another factor considered is whether or not your doctor finds your tumors resectable. When you say resectable, this means whether the tumor is removable or not. For the early stages of mesothelioma and even, occasionally, the third stage, tumors are still resectable. In determining if tumors can be removed, you can get a second opinion from another doctor to make sure if removing the tumors is still possible.
Of course, doctors have to take into account the actual condition of mesothelioma. There are three types of mesothelioma and only the pleural mesothelioma has four formal stages. The other two have none so you cannot base treatment solely on the phase of the cancer.
General Mesothelioma Treatments
Regardless of what stage you are in, there are general treatments that mesothelioma patients can get. These are the following:
The main purpose of the surgery is to take out all the tumors if possible. Tumors grow once the asbestos fibers infect and inflame the linings of either the lungs, abdomen or the heart. When not treated immediately, the tumors can spread to the nearby areas, increasing the chances of the cancer spreading.
Applicable to all the stages of mesothelioma, chemotherapy is another general treatment to reduce the spreading of the cancer cells. Chemotherapy, the short name for chemical therapy, is a common way to treat cancer. This is because chemotherapy’s purpose is to kill the cancer cells before it starts spreading to the different parts of the body. It can be used in conjunction with other procedures such as radiotherapy or surgery.
However, chemotherapy is also known to have harmful side effects, the most common one being the loss of hair. Even though this procedure is known to prolong the life of a lot of cancer patients and to cure certain kinds of cancer, there should be precautions in taking chemotherapy as well.
Mentioned a while ago is radiotherapy. Radiotherapy is often used for patients who are experiencing pleural mesothelioma or mesothelioma in the lining of the lungs. Radiation therapy works by putting radiation on the area of the tumor effectively killing the spread of cancer cells. Cancer cells are killed because of the interaction between radiation and the DNA of these harmful cells.
Like chemotherapy, radiotherapy can complement other procedures. Radiotherapy alone does not remove all cancer cells or cures mesothelioma. Until today, there is still no cure for mesothelioma because even radiotherapy does not eliminate all the cancer cells.
Multimodal treatment simply refers to having two or more treatments done to you in order to reduce the pain you feel or shrink and remove the tumors caused by mesothelioma. In order for you to be able to undergo multimodal therapy, doctors should be consulted as to whether your health can permit more than one form of treatment.
Getting treated for mesothelioma can be quite expensive and if you know it was caused by your workplace, you can always consult with Belluck & Fox, LLP. Your lawyer will help you in determining if there are grounds for a case and to whom to get compensation from.
As you go through mesothelioma treatment, it is important to remember that these treatments are only ways to alleviate the pain caused by the mesothelioma symptoms. They can effectively increase your life expectancy, but at the same time, it might not stop the spread of the cancer cells especially when they are already in the last stages.