Mesothelioma treatment plan generally has two purposes: to prolong life and to improve your quality of life. Doctors are still searching for a mesothelioma cure. One of the greatest difficulties in treating the disease is the long time delay from when you were exposed to asbestos to when your mesothelioma symptoms actually appeared. This usually means that the mesothelioma has progressed to the late stages before it is discovered. At that point the cancer is very aggressive and difficult to treat.
Finding mesothelioma doctors with experience treating the disease
Mesothelioma treatment plan Even though mesothelioma is a rare disease, there are many brilliant mesothelioma doctors, surgeons and oncologists around the country who are experts in treating the asbestos cancer. These mesothelioma doctors have worked with dozens, hundreds or even thousands of mesothelioma patients. They have followed developments and disappointments in mesothelioma treatment over the years. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, ask your physician about being referred to a cancer clinic where you can receive mesothelioma treatment from a specialist who knows the disease and how to help. If you have any legal questions regarding the disease, please consult your pleural mesothelioma lawyer.
Learn more about mesothelioma doctors and cancer clinics in your area.
Conventional Mesothelioma Treatment Plan
As your mesothelioma doctors chart a course of treatment, they will be looking at several different factors. Everyone’s case is different, after all. The most important factors are probably the stage of the cancer, how far it has spread and the cell type. Other considerations include any treatment you’ve already received, your age, general health aside from the cancer, where you live and your ability to travel to the nearest comprehensive cancer clinic.
Conventional mesothelioma treatment plan customarily includes procedures to remove or kill as many cancer cells as possible, to prevent the cancer from spreading and to reduce pain and discomfort associated with the disease. Traditionally, these procedures involve surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.
Most mesothelioma treatment plan will include at least two if not all three of these procedures. Your mesothelioma doctors may refer to this as “multimodal therapy.” This just means that you will receive multiple modes of treatment, either at the same time or during an outlined course of treatment. In general, patients who receive multimodal therapy have a significantly improved survival rate. Speak with your mesothelioma doctors about the treatment options that are right for you.
Most mesothelioma patients undergo some form of surgery. After the surgery, or sometimes during the procedure, other mesothelioma treatments are performed – such as radiation or chemotherapy – which may be used to destroy cancer cells that were not removed during surgery.
The extent of the surgery will depend upon your health in general as well as the extent of the disease. If the mesothelioma tumor is localized in the body at one spot, some mesothelioma doctors recommend removal of the entire affected lung. Other surgeons opt to remove the entire tumor, but leave the lung. Both options have benefits and drawbacks. Speak with your cancer team about the procedure that’s best for you. Indeed, this may be one of the issues you want to consider when choosing your mesothelioma doctors in the first place.
Most mesothelioma treatment plans also include chemotherapy as a way to prolong life. The procedure is not as invasive as surgery, nor does it take as much time for the body to recover from chemotherapy as from surgery. If you have peritoneal mesothelioma – located in the abdomen – your mesothelioma doctors may recommend heated chemotherapy, which has been more successful for some patients than traditional chemotherapy. The most common mesothelioma treatment chemotherapy drug is Cisplatin, which is frequently administered in combination with Alimta (pemetrexed) or another chemotherapy drug.
Mesothelioma Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy helps relieve the discomfort of mesothelioma by shrinking the size of the tumor. Radiation is frequently a part of an overall mesothelioma treatment plan. Radiation may be given via a sealed or unsealed source. The procedure is performed on patients at every stage of the disease and may be used in addition to surgery and/or chemotherapy.
Innovative Mesothelioma Treatment
Mesothelioma doctors are always searching for new ways to combat mesothelioma, in addition to the conventional treatment methods. Photodynamic therapy works to kill cancer cells by subjecting them to photosensitizing drugs and then exposing them to light. Immunotherapy uses a patient’s own immune system to destroy the mesothelioma tumor. The focus of gene therapy is to fix defective genes that may cause the growth of cancerous cells in the body.
Mesothelioma doctors and scientists are always researching new treatment for pleural mesothelioma. New chemotherapy drugs, or new combinations of chemotherapy drugs for mesothelioma are always being studied. These include: Alimta; ONCONASE; cisplatin with raltitrexed; and the peptide CBP501 in combination with pemetrexed and cisplatin.
In 2009, Morphotek, Inc. began a multi-centered Phase II study of the company’s MORAb-009 monoclonal antibody in mesothelioma. The study was designed to learn whether MORAb-009 is effective in combination with the chemotherapy drugs cisplatinum and pemetrexed to treat mesothelioma patients.
The same year, Peregrine Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced that it was conducting a Phase I clinical trial in the U.S. to evaluate bavituximab as monotherapy in mesothelioma patients. Bavituximab is one of a number of anti-angiogenesis drugs that are being studied at M.D.Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and elsewhere. The drug interferes with tumor growth by means of an antibody that prevents the VEGF protein from triggering the growth of blood vessels the mesothelioma tumor needs to survive.
Another drug company, CuraGen Corporation, has been studying a small molecule histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor, called PXD101, to see whether it can be used successfully for mesothelioma treatment.
These are only a few of the newer mesothelioma treatment therapies being reviewed. Any new cancer drug or treatment must undergo clinical trials before the U.S. Food & Drug Administration will approve it for widespread use. If you are interested on becoming part of a clinical trial, ask your mesothelioma doctors whether you could benefit from an experimental or innovative mesothelioma treatment.
Complementary Mesothelioma Treatment
Most of the mesothelioma treatments discussed above are focused on prolonging life rather than enhancing your quality of life. But palliative care – focused on your quality of life – is also an important part of any mesothelioma treatment plan. Traditional pain medication is one form of palliative care. But there are many other therapies available to help reduce pain, alleviate stress and anxiety and feed your inner spirit. Research has shown that exercise, meditation, yoga, massage and simply spending time outdoors all help you to feel better and live the best life you possibly can. Ask your mesothelioma doctorsabout complementary therapies that would fit well with your mesothelioma treatment plan.
Alternative Mesothelioma Treatment
Alternative treatments are completely different from complementary therapies. Complementary therapies are palliative procedures included in a conventional mesothelioma treatment plan. Alternative treatments are unconventional treatments or procedures that generally are directed toward healing your cancer, not confined to enhancing your quality of life. If you are considering alternative treatments, make sure to discuss your plans with your mesothelioma doctors.
Getting Help with Mesothelioma Treatment Costs
Mesothelioma treatment can cost a lot of money. Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and pain medication can all be very expensive. Medicare, Tricare, private insurance programs and VA benefits may help. But you may need additional resources to cover the cost of your mesothelioma treatment and provide for your family.
If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of your needless exposure to asbestos decades ago, you may be entitled to financial compensation to help with the expense of your mesothelioma treatment. To discuss your legal rights, contact a pleural mesothelioma lawyer today. The asbestos lawyers with Blumenthal & Gruber have decades of experience representing Navy and Coast Guard Veterans battling mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma Lawyer In Arizona
Mesothelioma is a sometimes fatal form of cancer that has been linked to asbestos exposure. Typically an individual experienced the asbestos exposure while at work, or on a job site as asbestos was used very heavily in a wide variety of industries by a countless number of companies. Arizona was at a particularly high risk as the area’s population expoded in the 20th century causing mass building efforts, mining efforts, and the completion of massive infrastructure systems like power plants.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used for thousands of years in everything from insulation to brake pads. Heavily used in manufacturing and construction, asbestos was used very heavily in the 20th century in particular. This put a countless amount of workers and their families at risk of developing an illness related to asbestos exposure such as mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma may develop several decades after the asbestos exposure took place making it somewhat to pinpoint at first. The initial symptoms of mesothelioma don’t make an early diagnosis as they can be mistaken for that of a common cold. It is important to seek immediate medical attention if you think that you may be developing mesothelioma or any other asbestos related illness.
Contact us to speak to a lawyer familiar with mesothelioma and asbestos related illnesses. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or an asbestos related illness you may be eligible to receive compensation to help offset the costs incurred throughout the unfortunate process.