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Mesothelioma treatment can comprise a variety of therapies to destroy the cancerous cells and stop the tumor from spreading to other body parts. They are also designed to weaken the symptoms of mesothelioma or, in the advanced stages of the disease, to cause less discomfort to the patient.
The treatment chart will differ between individuals since the oncologist will consider several factors before a suitable treatment plan is suggested. For instance, an individual's medical history and early diagnosis may make him/her more receptive to curative treatment. In such a scenario, the oncologist may develop a treatment roadmap to surgically remove the tumor. However, in instances where the mesothelioma has been diagnosed at a later stage, the oncologist may suggest a palliative treatment that can reduce the propensity of uncomfortable symptoms.
Surgical treatments are one of the most common forms of treating mesothelioma. Curative surgery for removing the tumor is effective when the cancer is diagnosed during the earlier stages of the disease. Mesothelioma surgeries are generally followed by treatment programs comprising radiation and/or chemotherapy to destroy any leftover cancer cells. One of the most recent curative surgeries is called extrapleural pnemonectomy and comprises surgical resectioning of the affected lung area along with pleurectomy and removing the pericardium membrane.
However, since more often than not mesothelioma is diagnosed in the advanced stages, palliative surgery is also conducted to make the individual more comfortable. For instance, the oncologist may suggest pleurodesis that requires injecting talc in the patient's lungs for preventing the return of the fluid into the lung passage. Thoracentesis is another surgical process that involves removing fluids with the help of a thin needle.
Radiation therapy is generally more recommended for individuals with fragile health since it has lesser side effects compared to chemotherapy and is considered more effective for mesothelioma. It is also commonly applied in combination with other treatments such as surgery and a regular chemotherapy regime.
External beam radiation is the most preferred form of radiation for treating mesothelioma. The radiation is administered by a machine and targets the affected areas on a regular basis for up to five weeks. This radiation technique is more for palliative than curative purposes. Among other things, it reduces the effect of uncomfortable mesothelioma symptoms such as shortness of breath, physical pain, bleeding and other similar factors causing uneasiness. External beam radiation can also be used to complement surgical treatments.
Though mesothelioma chemotherapy does not provide a definite cure for mesothelioma, it is effective in reducing the occurrence of uncomfortable symptoms and helping the patient lead a more pain-free life.
Chemotherapy drugs are typically administered to the patient in the form of a pill or directly injected into the patient's body. In case of mesothelioma, these drugs are intravenously given and oncologists will generally combine a couple of drugs for maximum results. One drug will act as a primary cytotoxin, while the other will function as an agent to calm down adjoining healthy cells.