Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the mesothelium, which is the lining around the internal organs and the abdominal cavity. Mesothelioma, like other forms of cancer, can be treated. Although an individual cannot be “cured” of mesothelioma, his or her cancer can go into remission, which means that the tumor has stopped growing. Full remission means that there are no longer any detectable cancer cells in the patient’s body and partial remission means that although the tumor remains, it is no longer growing or spreading. In either case, the patient’s condition improves significantly when he or she goes into remission and this can lead to many more healthy years.
The earlier mesothelioma is detected, the more treatment options a patient has. Mesothelioma intervention can be effective in removing cancer cells and slowing the growth of the patient’s tumor, or palliative, which means that it aims to reduce the patient’s symptoms and improve his or her quality of life. Treating mesothelioma can be expensive, but do not let the cost of your treatment deter you from seeking the care you need. If you are suffering from mesothelioma because of exposure to asbestos that could have been prevented, you could be entitled to compensation for your expenses through an asbestos exposure claim.Diagnosing Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is diagnosed with imaging tests, blood tests, and biopsies. In most cases, more than one of these diagnostic tools is used to confirm that a patient has mesothelioma.
When a patient discusses symptoms with their primary care provider, the doctor may perform some initial tests such as an MRI or an x-ray. If the doctor suspects that the patient has developed mesothelioma, an oncologist can confirm whether this is the case. By taking a biopsy, which is the test of a sample of tissue from the affected area.Treatment for Mesothelioma by Stage
The earlier mesothelioma is detected, the more treatment options the patient has available and the longer life expectancy. Mesothelioma progresses through four stages:
- Stage One. In this stage, the tumor might not even be visible. It is rare for mesothelioma to be detected at this stage due to a lack of symptoms and the small size of the tumor. Early mesothelioma may be detected by accident during imaging for another condition. At this stage, a patient can receive aggressive treatment;
- Stage Two. By stage two, the tumor is visible and the patient is experiencing symptoms like weight loss and chest pain. Aggressive treatment is still possible;
- Stage Three. By stage three, cancer has spread beyond its initial point. Treatment is still possible, but it does not have the same likelihood of success as in earlier stages. Treatments may be used in conjunction with palliative care; and
- Stage Four. By stage four, palliative care is the patient’s only option. In this stage, cancer has spread far beyond its original point and the patient may be experiencing severe symptoms.
Aggressive treatment options include any type of treatment designed to slow the spread of cancer cells in the patient’s body and achieve remission. Treatments for mesothelioma include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Often, patients receive a combination of these treatment methods when they undergo care.
Palliative treatment is treatment meant to treat symptoms and improve the patient’s quality of life. When a patient has reached stage four and other treatments would no longer be effective, the patient’s doctor might recommend palliative care. Certain types of treatment, such as chemotherapy and surgery, can also be used as palliative approaches to treating mesothelioma. Other treatment types, like oxygen therapy, may also be used to relieve the patient’s pain.
In the following video, Dr. Joseph Friedberg with the University of Maryland Medical Center discusses some of the treatment options for mesothelioma.Sacramento Mesothelioma Lawyer
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Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 10.9.19]