Mesothelioma Treatments

When a patient is diagnosed with mesothelioma, there are a few treatment options that can be used depending on the severity of the cancer and the age of the patient.

Traditional Treatments

There are three traditional ways to treat mesothelioma:

  • Surgery : Doctors perform surgery in an attempt to remove the cancer from the lungs or stomach. Surgery is only performed on patients whose mesothelioma is in the early stages of development and is typically paired with another form of treatment such as radiation or chemotherapy to fight residual disease.
  • Chemotherapy : Chemotherapy is the destruction of cancer cells and the prevention of cancer cell multiplication through the use of chemical substances. Chemotherapy does not cure mesothelioma, but is used to control the disease by preventing it from spreading. This is often used after surgery to control any remaining cancer cells.

Alimta is a new drug recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for mesothelioma patients. Alimta is the first FDA approved drug directly related to the treatment of mesothelioma. Research shows that when paired with Cisplatin, Alimta is the most effective treatment for mesothelioma patients who are not candidates for surgery.

Chemotherapy is usually administered in cycles, allowing the drugs to attack and destroy the cancer cells and then gives the normal cells time to recover. Mesothelioma patients typically undergo a 10 minute infusion of Alimta and then two hours of Cisplatin every 21 days.

The results are usually evaluated after 3 or 4 cycles to determine if the chemotherapy is working. If the tumor appears to be shrinking or the cancer appears to be under control, chemotherapy may be continued as long as the patient can handle it because it can cause harmful side effects.

  • Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy treats mesothelioma through the use of penetrating beams of radiation particles, which attack residual cancer cells after surgery.

New treatments for mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is extremely difficult to treat. As of today, there is not a cure for mesothelioma; however, many new approaches to treating the disease are currently being tested in an effort to change that. Following is a list of some new treatments that are currently being tested:

  • Immunotherapy: The use of the body's own immune system to protect itself against the disease
  • Photodynamic therapy: The use of photosensitive drugs and light to kill the cancer cells
  • Gene therapy: The use of genetic material to prevent the growth of cancerous cells or enhance the body's immune response to cancer.

To learn more about financing mesothelioma treatments, contact us today.

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