Treatment for Malignant Mesothelioma: Surgery, Radiation, Chemotherapy, Clinical Trial, Coping, Home Remedies

Even though malignant mesothelioma is life threatening, if you recognize your disease early, it can definitely be treated. There are numerous types of malignant mesothelioma treatments existing in medicine industry. In this section of the article you will read about the treatment for malignant mesothelioma, home remedies, coping, and prevention of malignant mesothelioma.

Treatment for Malignant Mesothelioma

Treatment for Malignant Mesothelioma

Some of the treatments are standard that means those are used at present for managing malignant mesothelioma patients. At the same time there are lots of researches going on to discover new ways of treating malignant mesothelioma patients. Always new methods become fast and efficient that the standard treatment options. In some of the major hospitals clinical trials are started with fresh malignant mesothelioma patients that means who have not undergone any other treatment so far. With their consent the new methods are being experimenting to introduce new treatment procedures. At present there are three forms of traditional treatment procedures are used for malignant mesothelioma:

  1. Surgery for Malignant Mesothelioma

    If malignant mesothelioma is encountered in one’s chest the below mentioned surgical procedures may be used:

    • Wide local excision surgery for malignant mesothelioma will remove the cancer affected cells and few of the unaffected tissue near it.
    • Extrapleural pneumonectomy for malignant mesothelioma is a surgery which is performed to take away one complete lung and the diaphragm, section of the inner chest coating and the inner coating of the case around the heart.
    • Pleurectomy & decortication for malignant mesothelioma is a surgery in which the doctor will remove a section of the lungs which is covering by bad cell and inner chest coating plus the section of the outer face of the affected lung.
    • Pleurodesis for malignant mesothelioma is a surgical procedure which uses drugs or chemicals in order to make a wound in the gap among the pleura layers. First fluid is removed from the space utilizing a chest tube or catheter and then the chemical/ drug is place into the gap. The wounding stops the fluid generation in the cavity of pleural.

    Even though all the cancer cells are being removed from a surgery doctors recommend radiation therapy or chemotherapy for some serious patients in order to kill bad cells if there are any leftovers. Another post-surgery treatment is there which is named adjuvant therapy to lessen the possibility of regeneration of cancer cells.

  2. Radiation Therapy for Malignant Mesothelioma

    Radiation therapy for malignant mesothelioma can be used before surgery or after surgery. If the cancer is at the initial stage without a surgery only radiation therapy is sufficient but if the cancer has spread wide the patient has to definitely undergo a surgery and then radiation therapy for malignant mesothelioma can be used as a controlling procedure.

    Radiation therapy for malignant mesothelioma utilizes high-power X-rays or else other forms of radiation to destroy cancel cells or control them from growing. Two main forms of radiation therapy are available, such as external radiation therapy (ERT) and internal radiation therapy (IRT). ERT utilizes a machine exterior to the body and send rays towards the cancer. IRT utilizes a radioactive material in seed, needles, catheters or wires that are positioned directly on to the cancer or at least near the cancer.

    Which radiation therapy method to use will be decided based on the type of the cancer and its severity level.

  3. Chemotherapy for Malignant Mesothelioma

    Chemotherapy can also help in managing malignant mesothelioma. There are certain drugs which can prevent the development of bad cells either by destroying the cells or preventing them from dividing themselves. Controlling cancer cell development through drugs is called chemotherapy. Four ways of chemotherapy exist for managing malignant mesothelioma, such as systemic chemotherapy, regional chemotherapy, combination chemotherapy and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy.

    • In systemic chemotherapy, drugs are ingested through mouth or drugs are injected to a blood vessel or to a muscle. Then the drugs go through the stream of blood and can arrive at cancer cells all through the body.
    • In regional chemotherapy, drugs are directly positioned on to the organ, body cavity (chest or peritoneum) or cerebrospinal fluid, then the drugs can easily affect cancer cells around those areas.
    • If the anticancer drugs are combined then it is called as combination chemotherapy.

    A chemotherapy called hyperthermic intraperitoneal is utilized in the malignant mesothelioma treatment that has expanded to the peritoneum (i.e. tissue that positions the abdomen and coats many of the organs within the abdomen). Once the cancer surgeon eliminates all the cancer cells that are visible, a solution holding anticancer drugs is heat up and forced to the abdomen to destroy any leftover cancer cells. Anticancer drugs in moderate temperature may destroy more cancer cells.

    Which chemotherapy method to use and when, depends on the form of the caner and the severity of the cancer.

Clinical Trials for Malignant Mesothelioma

Research in the treatment for malignant mesothelioma is always going on but a couple of clinical trials have shown good results in managing malignant mesothelioma which are discussed below:

  1. Biologic Therapy for Malignant Mesothelioma

    In biological therapy for malignant mesothelioma, patient’s immune system needs to fight against the malignant mesothelioma cancer. Substances generated within the patient’s body or developed semi-artificially in a medical laboratory are utilized to direct, reinstate or boost the patient’s natural defense mechanism against the cancer. This procedure is also termed immunotherapy or biotherapy.

  2. Targeted Therapy for Malignant Mesothelioma

    In this targeted therapy for malignant mesothelioma drugs are used to directly target at the cancer cells. The good side of this therapy is it does not harm normal cells unlike in radiation therapy and in chemotherapy. Kinase inhibitors and monoclonal antibodies are the targeted remedies being investigated for the treatment of malignant mesothelioma.

    Monoclonal antibody remedy is a treatment for malignant mesothelioma cancer that utilizes antibodies developed in the laboratory, using an immune system cell type. These antibodies possibly will recognize cores on cells with cancer or other substances that help development of cancer cells. The antibodies connect with the core and destroy the cancer cells and obstruct their growth, or prevent them from dispersal. Monoclonal antibodies used along or to convey toxins, drugs, or radioactive substances straight to cancer affected cells.

    Kinase inhibitors introduced as targeted therapy drugs which are capable of blocking signals required for cancer cells to grow.

Importance of Facing Clinical Trials for Malignant Mesothelioma

Clinical trials are a segment of the process of cancer research. Clinical trials are performed to find out new treatments to cure malignant mesothelioma cancer. Always new discoveries of treatments should be better and effective than the standard and traditional ones.

Most of today’s traditional cancer treatments are the outcomes of previous clinical trials. Affected individuals who undergo clinical trial most possibly will receive new treatments sometimes the standard treatments too. Patients who help the clinical trials indirectly help the community too as clinical trials always results better and effective treatments of healing cancers and to continue research in better path.

Patients may join clinical trials if they wish before starting any of the cancer treatments or while having traditional treatments or even after all the major treatments procedures.

Some of the clinical trials can be carried out only for fresh affected individuals who have not undergone any treatments. Some clinical trials are there for patients who are already under treatments but healing has not been that successful. And finally there are clinical trials for patients who have got cured from the cancer to prevent forming cancer cells again within their bodies.

Follow-up Malignant Mesothelioma Cancer Investigations

Sometimes patients may have to undergo the same diagnostic tests in order to find out whether they have cancers or for those who already diagnosed that they are having a malignant mesothelioma cancer and those who are already undergoing treatments to find out up to which extent they have come up in the healing process. Decisions to continue treatments or change treatments or whether to stop treatments all depend on the results diagnosis tests and their continuations.

Home Remedies for Malignant Mesothelioma

There are no such home remedies or alternative treatments which could treat malignant mesothelioma. But these home remedies and harmonizing treatments may control the symptoms of malignant mesothelioma. If you are presently suffering with harsh malignant mesothelioma symptoms, discuss with your doctor and get some medicines to control the symptoms first.

If you are suffering from malignant mesothelioma you might experience pressure in your chest and as a result you may feel short of breath. This is usually a worrying condition for many malignant mesothelioma patients. Supplemental oxygen and medicine to control condition will prescribe by your doctor to change you to a comfortable condition. Some times for better results doctor’s treatments can be combined with alternative and harmonizing approaches.

To get rid of breathlessness issue malignant mesothelioma patients may follow 1 or 2 of the below mentioned home remedies for malignant mesothelioma:

  1. Relaxation exercises may be used as a home remedy in managing the symptoms of malignant mesothelioma. This will help you improving your breathing ability. In relaxation exercises what you will do is slowly relax and tense your different muscles groups. Your doctor will recommend an exercise therapist to you in order to get a better training. Following obtaining a comprehensive training you can do those exercises on your own.
  2. Sitting facing a fan can be a great home remedy in managing malignant mesothelioma. When you are feeling difficult to breathe sit facing directly to a pedestal fan, it may help feeling of breathlessness.
  3. When you feel uncomfortable in breathing follow few breathing techniques. These techniques can be learnt from a physical therapist or from a nurse. Following these breathing techniques in appropriate manner may help you control breathing difficulties and should be practiced at home and is a good home remedy for malignant mesothelioma.

Coping with Malignant Mesothelioma

Coping with malignant mesothelioma is a challenging process. More than suffering from a cancer it is so tedious to cope with secondary issues that possibly will arise with the condition. You need to spend lot of time for your treatments, doctor’s appointments, attending clinics; medical tests all consume lot of time and money. Your work life gets distracted because of all that. Sometimes you may have to quit your job to go for permanent treatment procedures including surgeries for malignant mesothelioma.

Your financials will be more upset if you do not have any financial surpluses or a big savings. If you have got lots of dependents you will be more upset. In this type of a situation your spouse need to manage everything very patiently. More than the patient his/ her associates should be fit in their thoughts and actions. Undoubtedly patient’s family automatically get courage to face all these new problems due to emotional affection towards their family member who is suffering with malignant mesothelioma.

If you take your present sickness as just another problem that you have faced earlier in your life, this problem too, you and your family members will manage positively. If you get negative thoughts in this situation the problem become more complex to handle. Positive thoughts and be more patient and let the time solve all your difficulties then you can be more relaxed. Mental fitness also affects faster healing of malignant mesothelioma.

Below are the three main areas that you need to cope during the malignant mesothelioma treatments:

  • Emotional Coping during the treatment for malignant mesothelioma. Emotional feelings need to be strong especially when you are holding most difficult situations in your life, one instance is being diagnosed of cancer. Initially any person get little or severely scared about his life and his family as cancers are life threatening. With lots of meditation practices, or talking with your loved one, can gradually help you develop the mental fitness which will directly affect your healing process positively. If you stay fit your family members too will stay fit, which means your cancer will be just another very ordinary problem for you and for them.
  • Physical Coping while in the treatment for malignant mesothelioma. If you are suffering from malignant mesothelioma you have to undergo many diagnostic investigations, many different therapies like radiation therapy, then sometimes one or few surgeries and all that. All these may hurt you physically however much you are strong in your emotions. But if you follow your doctor’s advice and take your medicines on time then most of the after effects will be healed very soon. Then again you need more patience and doctors may give pain relievers or any other drugs to put you on sleep during the worst cases.
  • Financial Coping during the treatment. Malignant mesothelioma treatments cost you a lot. Your health insurance solely is insufficient to cover-up the hospital bills. If you are working for an asbestos product factory definitely you are entitled for health compensations, some very large companies bear up the entire hospital cost of the patient. If not think of liquidizing some of the assets you have, fixed deposits and borrowing health loan etc… Once you are fully recovered, you can start earning again. Life is more than your wealth, so be relaxed and spend enough to overcome your health issue.

Prognosis/Outlook of Malignant Mesothelioma

The prognosis/outlook for malignant mesothelioma is based on many factors including the following aspects:

  • Patient’s age.
  • Phase of the cancer.
  • Size of malignant mesothelioma tumor.
  • Activity level of the patient.
  • Whether the cancer tumor can be taken away completely through a surgery.
  • Fluid quantity in the abdomen or chest.
  • Patient’s usual health condition, including heart and lung health.
  • Form of mesothelioma cells plus how they appear under a microscope.
  • Amount of WBC/white blood cells plus the amount of hemoglobin in the blood.
  • Patient’s gender.
  • Is this the first diagnosis of the cancer or is it a recurrence.

Prevention of Malignant Mesothelioma

Keep away from asbestos manufacturing is the best way to prevent malignant mesothelioma or if you cannot avoid, follow safety instructions seriously. Observe if you are working in an asbestos related company, some of them are:

  • Construction workers,
  • Miners,
  • Insulation manufacturers,
  • Ship builders,
  • Cement manufacturing,
  • Auto mechanics.

If you are working in an environment where there is a possibility of exposure to asbestos, then be sure to follow all the regulations provided by your employer. It is also a must to change your clothes before going home so that the asbestos is not inhaled by your family members directly or indirectly.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 4, 2018

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