Mesothelioma treatment options depend on many factors including: the stage of the illness, the location of the cancer, the patient’s age and his (her) desire to recover.
The survival time, as generally known by the public, for mesothelioma victims is eight to twelve months, but experts have better statistics. Survival rate has reached five years for about forty per cent for selected patients. To qualify for some mesothelioma treatments the patients should meet special criteria.
Known mesothelioma treatment options are the surgery, Chemotherapy and Radiation therapy. Other experimental treatments start to show encouraging results such as Photodynamic therapy, Gene therapy, and immunotherapy.
Surgical mesothelioma treatment consists on three main forms: diagnostic surgery, curative surgery and palliative surgery
Diagnostic and palliative surgeries provide symptomatic relief. Only curative surgery can potentially remove cancer from a patient with mesothelioma.
It is particularly important to diagnose the disease as early as possible for curative surgery to be effective though. Unfortunately, mesothelioma is not usually diagnosed before it reaches advanced stages, while surgery is not an option any more.
Chemotherapy consists on the intravenous injection of substances that kill cancer fast multiplying cells by interfering into the division process. A relatively new treatment called: heated chemotherapy; avoids a common side effect of the standard chemotherapy that kills the rapidly dividing non-cancerous cells. This mesothelioma treatment option usually succeeds a surgery.
Radiation Therapy, often used in parallel with surgery, is used to kill the cancer cells and prevent them from spreading out. It can also be used as a stand-alone treatment to soothe pain and other discomforts related to the illness.
Photodynamic therapy is used to exterminate cancer cells by exposing them to a particular light; the patient is administered an intravenous solution, beforehand. Photodynamic therapy is considered as highly specialized and more specific to skin cancers and to few lung cancers. This mesothelioma treatment option is considered as helpless in metastasized stages.
Gene therapy consists on genetically manipulating the malignant cells, by introducing a non-infectious virus. The intruder makes the cells produce a certain protein that interferes in the cancer cells “suicide” phenomenon. In addition to that, the patient is treated with chemotherapy medications that kill only the cancer cells. This mesothelioma treatment shows promising results, despite being still at experimental stages.
Immunotherapy works out the patient’s immune system and makes it able to recognize diseased cells as harmful. The treatment consists on administering a vaccine of cancerous cells that the body would consider as dangerous and consequently thinks that the cancer is harmful and fights it.
The major mesothelioma treatment options remains the degree of psychological state of the patient and his desire to recover.