Breathing Easy: How an Experimental Treatment Could Lead to a Breakthrough in Mesothelioma Care

May 15, 2013  |  Mesothelioma

When a person is diagnosed with mesothelioma, they often find out about their diagnosis after first complaining about chest pains and shortness of breath. These symptoms are a sign of pleural effusion, or the build up of fluid in the pleura area around the lung. Unfortunately, pleural effusion is often a symptom that arises in the later stages of mesothelioma. Although it can be treated, the current methods can be painful, invasive and are not always effective. But a team of researchers in China may have stumbled on a non-invasive way to treat pleural effusion in mesothelioma patients and provide them with some much-needed relief.

A recent article in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Pathology details the case of a 54-year-old woman in China that was suffering from pleural effusion. The woman was suffering from chest pain, persistent cough, night sweats and fever as a result of the effusion. Although she was experiencing pleural effusion as a result of squamous cell carcinoma, the symptoms were the same as patients in late-stage mesothelioma.

Instead of undergoing the typical treatments used to combat pleural effusion, a team of Chinese doctors tried something new. The woman received a combination of anti-tuberculosis drugs consisting of isoniazid, rifapentine, pyrazinamide and ethambutol. These anti-tuberculosis medicines were effective in eliminating the woman’s pleural effusion and kept it at bay while she was on the medication. Although the fluid eventually returned after treatment, the women experienced 16 weeks without breathing problems and cough.

The results of this experimental treatment approach could lead to a more efficient and less invasive method of treatment for mesothelioma and carcinoma patients. Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive disease that carries one of the lowest survival rates among cancer diagnoses. The use of anti-tuberculosis therapy as to treat pleural effusions more effectively could lead to an increase in survival rates and the overall quality of life that mesothelioma patients can expect.

The mesothelioma lawyers at Baron and Budd have been representing mesothelioma patients for the past 35 years and know how difficult finding the right mesothelioma treatment can be. The law firm is a sponsor of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and several other medical groups that are working to improve the various treatments available to mesothelioma patients. Baron and Budd hopes that the use of anti-tuberculosis therapies in treating mesothelioma patients will lead to an improved quality of life and better overall outcomes in mesothelioma care.

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