If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you already know there is no cure. However, there are innovations in research and technology every day. New mesothelioma treatments are currently in development right now. There are clinical trials underway, and any one of them could lead to a breakthrough. As this happens, mesothelioma treatments will become more effective.
Whether you and your doctor decide you should undergo traditional mesothelioma treatments, you are going to become part of a study, or a combination of the two, you are doing so because you want to try whatever is going to be the most effective.
Every case of mesothelioma is unique. No two patients or circumstances are exactly the same, and your health and habits play a role. Because of this, there is no single most effective cure. What is most effective for one patient may not be the best choice for another. Although there is no single most effective treatment for this condition, the following treatments are the ones that are used most often by specialists.
Surgery is commonly used to reduce tumors, which in turn reduces the pressure put on your other organs. It is also used to diagnose the condition.
A biopsy is a minor surgical procedure that removes a piece of tissue from the affected area. This piece of tissue is then microscopically examined, and the appearance of the cells under the microscope is what is used to diagnose the type of mesothelioma you have. This is the most common diagnostic procedure because it’s the most effective.
Curative procedures aren’t cures in the sense that you will no longer have mesothelioma. Instead, these surgeries have the potential to relieve your pain and prolong your life in the face of your terminal diagnosis.
One type of curative surgery is a pleurectomy, which is a surgery that removes part of the pleura, or the serous membranes that surround the lungs. The lung tissue beneath the pleura and the lymph nodes may also be removed. This type of surgery has the highest success rate of all mesothelioma procedures.
A pneumonectomy is more invasive than a pleurectomy because it involves the removal of the entire affected lung. Depending on the type of mesothelioma you have, the surgeon may also remove the abdomen, heart, or parts of the diaphragm.
Another procedure that is sometimes used is called cytoreduction. This is also known as debulking, and it’s used to kill abdominal cancer cells and remove all traces of tumors from the abdomen. The tumors will come back, eventually, but in the meantime this procedure will buy you more time.
Two more procedures that are sometimes performed in cases of mesothelioma include pericardiectomy and pericardiocentesis. The former involves replacing the lining of the heart with Gore-Tex so your heart can continue to function. The latter involves removing fluid buildup from your heart’s cavity. This can reduce your blood pressure and improve your heart’s function.
Palliative surgery is also not a cure. Instead, it’s surgery that’s meant to manage symptoms to keep you comfortable. One type of common palliative surgery is a pleurodesis, which is meant to stop fluid from collecting in the pleura. The surgeon accomplishes this by inserting talc into the pleural cavity to absorb moisture.
Another type of palliative surgery is paracentesis. This procedure involves removing fluid from the abdominal cavity. It won’t prolong your life, but it will relieve the symptoms that are caused by the pressure in your abdomen.
If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, another thing you already know is how expensive these procedures are. If you believe your mesothelioma was caused by exposure to asbestos either through exposure to products like talc baby powder or on the job, you may want to contact an attorney who represents mesothelioma clients across the country.
The goal of mesothelioma treatment is not to cure it, but rather to enjoy the best possible quality of life for the time you’ve got left. Your best chance of this happening is to find a medical team with a strong background in mesothelioma treatment.