Peritoneal Mesothelioma Treatment

Mesothelioma is a serious cancer that can affect the lungs, heart or abdominal cavity. A number of treatment options now exist to combat this condition, though there is not yet a completely effective cure. The nature of the treatment that a patient will receive is based on a number of factors, including the type of mesothelioma they have and how far the disease has progressed. While the battle is still being fought against this disease, a number of traditional and emerging treatment options are helping patients live longer and healthier lives after being diagnosed.

How Does A Patient Contract This Cancer?

The most common way to contract mesothelioma is to have exposure to asbestos. Estimates indicate that over ten million people in the United States alone were exposed to some form of asbestos on a regular basis between 1940 and 1978 when the material was most commonly used as insulation. The nature of asbestos is such that it is always releasing tiny fibers into the surrounding area, fibers that are easily breathed in. Once inside a body, these fibers can lodge themselves in organ or abdominal membranes, and then cause surrounding cells to divide abnormally, producing a tumor.

The difficulty in mesothelioma diagnosis lies in the fact that these fibers can lie dormant for years, and then suddenly cause an abnormal division to occur. This means that even patients who had asbestos exposure two or three decades ago can still be at risk of developing this type of cancer. Smoking is also a factor for this condition, as those that smoke are 90% more likely to develop the cancer after an exposure.

What Treatment Options Exist For Mesothelioma?

There are a number of "traditional" treatments that are currently being used including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. These are all best used on mesothelioma cancers that are in the early stages of development, as they have the highest chance of actually removing the tumor and giving a patient a better life expectancy. Those in later stages of the condition are often give treatments to manage symptoms and increase quality of life.

Surgery for the most common type of mesothelioma, pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lungs, include a removal of the tumor or a removal of the entire lung, depending on the health of the patient and the location of the tumor. Chemotherapy after surgery can be effective in managing mesothelioma, with the intensity of the treatment depending in large part on the ability of the patient to handle side effects. Targeted radiation can also be useful, and newer options like intensity-modulated radiotherapy can help target tumors and destroy malignant cells.

Alternative treatments such as immunotherapy, gene therapy and photodynamic therapy are also being tested in an effort to give patients as great a chance as possible to increase their survival rates and life expectancies.

Curious about your options as a mesothelioma sufferer? Contact us today and let us help you find the right treatment for your condition.