Although no treatment has yet proved entirely successful, there exist a range of treatments available to individuals diagnosed with the disease there exist a range of treatments available to individuals diagnosed with the disease and clinical research to treat malignant mesothelioma is very active. Standard treatments used to treat malignant mesothelioma include: surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
Malignant mesothelioma’s surgery has a number of subclasses which are specially designed to limit the disease for individuals with particular strains of the disease.
– Extra pleural pneumonectomy, a severe form of surgery which remove the entire lung and a portion of the lining of the chest, the diaphragm, and some or the entire sac which surrounds the heart.
– Wide local excision, a form of surgery in which the cancer and a limited amount of the healthy tissue surrounding the cancerous region are removed.
– Pleurectomy and decortication, a surgery in which the covering of the lungs, as well as the lining of the chest and portions of the outside covering of the lungs are removed.
As it employs a blend of chemicals and/or drugs to create an intentional scar between the layers of the pleura, the surgical procedure pleurodesis is a distinct technique insofar. Using either a catheter or chest tube, the space created by the scar must be drained and is then filled with a chemical which inhibits the accumulation of fluid in the pleura cavity, on post-surgery.
Radiation is the second primary medical technique used to fight the development of malignant mesothelioma. Radiation therapy uses the same basic technology as other forms of medical radiation insofar as the technique employs high energy x-rays to kill cancer cells, as applied to malignant mesothelioma. Two board categories divide the process:
– External radiation therapy
It is a technique in which a machine sends radiation in a targeted stream at a certain portion of the body, and in so doing it kills the cancerous cells in its purview.
– Internal radiation therapy
Internal radiation therapy does not use an external machine but use needles seeds and catheters to place radioactive substance directly on or near the cancer.
The goal is to get the radiation placed directly onto the cancerous area and in so doing provide a more concentrated and directed dosage, while the precise method of implementation will of course depend upon the type and stage of the illness.
Chemotherapy is the third standard malignant mesothelioma treatment. Drugs which target cancer cells and stop them from dividing and thus prevent their growth are used in chemotherapy.
The drug can be taken by mouth or injected in systemic chemotherapy, but either way, the goal is to have it reach cancer cells by means of the body’s own blood circulation system. The drug is placed directly onto the target area in regional chemotherapy. Combination chemotherapy involves the use of two or more anticancer drugs which can be administered either orally or through injection.
Educating oneself as to the options available is an important step for making the process of treatment more manageable because malignant mesothelioma is a difficult disease for anyone to bear.