Mesothelioma of Pleura
Mesothelioma Lung Cancer
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of recovery (mesothelioma prognosis) depends on the size of the cancer, where the cancer is, how far the cancer has spread, how
the cancer cells look under the microscope, how the cancer responds to mesothelioma treatment, and the patient's age and general
health. Standard mesothelioma treatment may be considered because of its effectiveness in patients in past studies, or
participation in a clinical trial may be considered.
There are a number of mesothelioma treatment options available to
mesothelioma patients. Extrapleural pneumonectomy in selected patient with very early stage disease may improve recurrence-free
survival, but its impact on overall survival is unknown. Pleurectomy and Decortication can provide palliative relief from
symptomatic effusions, discomfort caused by tumor burden, and pain caused by invasive tumors. The use of radiation therapy in
pleural mesothelioma has been shown to alleviate pain in the majority of patients treated. Unfortunately, the duration of
symptom control is short-lived. Single agent and combined chemotherapy have reported higher response rates in STAGE II patients,
but the toxicity reported is also higher, and there is no evidence that combination treatments result in longer survival or
longer control of the mesothelioma symptoms.
There are treatments for all patients with
Three kinds of treatment are used:
- chemotheraphy (using drugs to fight the cancer).
- surgery (taking out the cancer).
- radiation therapy (using high-dose x-rays or other high-energy rays to kill cancer
cells) chemotherapy (using drugs to fight the cancer).
Surgery is a common treatment of malignant mesothelioma. The
doctor may remove part of the lining of the chest or abdomen and some of the tissue around it. Depending on how far the cancer
has spread, a lung also may be removed in an operation called a pneumonectomy. Sometimes part of the diaphragm, the muscle below
the lungs that helps with breathing, is also removed.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells and
shrink tumors. Radiation may come from a machine outside the body (external radiation therapy) or from putting materials that
produce radiation (radioisotopes) through thin plastic tubes in the area where the cancer cells are found (internal radiation
therapy). If fluid has collected in the chest or abdomen, the doctor may drain the fluid out of the body by putting a needle
into the chest or abdomen and using gentle suction to remove the fluid. If fluid is removed from the chest, this is called
thoracentesis. If fluid is removed from the abdomen, this is called paracentesis. The doctor may also put drugs through a tube
into the chest to prevent more fluid from accumulating.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy may
be taken by pill, or it may be put into the body by a needle in the vein or muscle. Chemotherapy is called a systemic treatment
because the drug enters the bloodstream, travels through the body, and can kill cancer cells throughout the body. In
mesothelioma, chemotherapy may be put directly into the chest (intrapleural chemotherapy).
therapy is a new type of treatment that uses special drugs and light to kill cancer cells during surgery. A drug that makes
cancer cells more sensitive to light is injected into a vein several days before surgery. During surgery to remove as much of
the cancer as possible, a special light is used to shine on the pleura. This treatment is being studied for early stages of
mesothelioma in the chest.
Cancer treatments all have side effects. It is hard to kill cancer cells
at the same time as keeping all healthy cells safe. Side effects of treatment depend on the type of treatment and the person's
overall health when treatment starts.
Not all patients are cured with standard therapy,
and some standard treatments may have more side effects than are desired. Clinical trials, therefore, are designed to find
better ways to treat cancer patients and are based on the most up-to-date information. Clinical trials are ongoing in many parts
of the country for many patients with malignant mesothelioma.
These new approaches often combine two or more traditional
treatments or consist of other promising innovations.
To learn more about clinical trials, call for a free information
package 1-800-362-1479. You may also try the following link: