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When a patient is first diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare and incurable cancer caused by asbestos exposure, he or she is often besieged with a million questions from their loved ones. But probably the highest on the list is the question of treatment. So, exactly what type of treatments can a mesothelioma patient expect?
The growth pattern of mesothelioma cells is complex and difficult to isolate. Unlike some other cancerous cells that develop into singular, discrete tumors, mesothelioma cells develop into a large mass of interlocked tumors that are interwoven with healthy tissue. Because of this, a patient will typically undergo a multi-modal treatment regime including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.
Unlike chemotherapy and surgery, radiation is often used to treat mesothelioma for two different reasons.
Radiation can be used for adjuvant therapy with the purpose of eradicating a small group of cancer cells that could not be seen or removed with surgery. This type of therapy is often the follow-up treatment after a patient has recovered from surgery.
Radiation is also used for palliative purposes. A patient will receive radiotherapy to address common mesothelioma symptoms including shortness of breath, bleeding, pain and trouble swallowing. Unfortunately, this type of treatment will often be accompanied by the onset of nausea and fatigue. These symptoms can be quite severe, but there are medications designed to help with nausea and a healthy diet is the best way to beat fatigue.
Medical researchers are working hard to advance treatment methods for mesothelioma patients. The field of immunotherapy has received increased interest over the years after several medications have shown great promise. Immunotherapy is the study of manipulating the body’s immune system to treat disease. There are multiple immunotherapy drugs currently in clinical trials that may soon be included in the multi-modal approach to mesothelioma treatment.
There are numerous mesothelioma clinical studies being conducted around the country. These trials are will often provide mesothelioma patients with medical assistance and give access to drugs that aren’t available through their regular doctor. A mesothelioma patient can find out about what clinical trials they qualify for by visiting www.clinicaltrials.gov. Here, they can find a complete list of both publicly and privately supported studies.
The mesothelioma law firm of Baron and Budd has been committed to serving the interests of those affected by asbestos disease for over 35 years. The law firm is a platinum sponsor of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization and several other medical organizations dedicated to the advancement of mesothelioma research.
For more on Baron and Budd, visit here.