Treatment of any cancer is tedious but mesothelioma is a cancer that needs urgent and extensive treatment regime. This is must in order to improve quality of life of patient if he is in terminal stages of cancer. If he is in the early stages, certainly apt treatment can save the life of the patient or at least his life can be extended. No doubt early diagnosis of mesothelioma cancer can help doctors to sketch out a good treatment plan for the patient. But the sad part is that the cancer is usually diagnosed in late stages due to its symptoms mimicking those of severe pneumonia. Unless a lung tissue biopsy is done, diagnosis of mesothelioma cannot be ascertained.
But medical researchers have paved way for some amazing treatment options for the cancer these days. Though all the treatments have not yet been verified, many of them called as clinical trials are proving extremely helpful for the patients to come out of the difficulties.
Let’s see what prime treatment options are there for mesothelioma patient:
o Surgery: If the cancer is in its early stages, surgery is the best option. If the malignant mesothelioma lies in one of the parts of chest, surgeons remove that part of the chest lining with cancer along with some tissue surrounding it. But if cancer is present in more than one place, pleurectomy or decortication need to be done. Extrapleural pneumonectomy is the procedure to remove the diseased lung, portion of pericardium, part of the diaphragm, and part of parietal pleura. Debulking is the procedure to remove as much as cancer possible in little advanced stages.
o Chemotherapy: This conventional mode of therapy is used to kill cancer cells. Pemetrexed is the chemotherapy drug first used and approved for mesothelioma treatment. New drugs like Raltitrexed and Ranpirnase are also used. Some others like Cisplatin and Carboplatin are also used with inconsistent results. Side effects of chemotherapy however have to be understood before so that patient’s compliance can be improved with positive mental outlook.
o Radiation: High intensity radiation is given to the localized tumor mass. Size of the tumor and symptoms like breathlessness can be reduced with radiation and also the side effects are relatively fewer.
o Clinical Trials: Many different clinical trials are instituted by experienced doctors though the cure is not guaranteed. With consent from patients, such treatments are executed. It is a sort of trial and error method, however, with latest clinical trials, huge decrease in symptoms of mesothelioma patients is observed. Such treatments pave way for better mesothelioma treatments in future.
o Photodynamic therapy: Use of LASER beam to kill cancer cells is indicated in this therapy. This therapy still is in research stage and usually combined with pleurectomy or extrapleural pneumonectomy.
o Immunotherapy: It is intended to build immunity to fight cancer cells. Use of different therapies like gene therapy, monoclonal antibodies therapy, and cytokine proteins like interleukins and interferon therapy comes under this mode.
o Nutrition and psychotherapy: This is certainly needed to improve quality of life in mesothelioma patients and also to improve compliance to treatments chosen.
o Alternative therapies like homeopathy are also tried and used successfully as an adjunct to main treatment.
In short, the treatment of mesothelioma can be done successfully if diagnosed at early stages and if full patient’s cooperation is received.