Mesothelioma Treatment Options
Specialized Treatment Required
Mesothelioma, as an extremely rare and aggressive form of cancer, does not squarely fit within the typical treatment modalities for cancer. Standard cancer treatments often do not work with mesothelioma because the disease’s aggressive nature makes it resistant to customary cancer treatments. Consequently, specialized treatment methods have been developed and are continually being modified. New treatment alternatives are also constantly being researched and implemented. As medical researchers gain a better understanding of mesothelioma, the treatment options for patients have steadily increased and will continue to increase in the years to come. It is hoped that medical advances in the treatment of mesothelioma continue their upward trajectory.
Treatment Options Include Surgery, Chemotherapy, and Radiation
Treatment for mesothelioma is specialized. It is fine-tuned to the unique characteristics of the disease and of the individual. Like treatment to combat other cancers, treatment for mesothelioma patients includes surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Surgery consists of the physical removal of the cancerous growth or parts of the tumor. Chemotherapy involves the use of powerful drugs, which are injected into the bloodstream to fight cancer cells. Radiation therapy involves, as the name implies, the use of radiation to kill cancer cells.
A patient’s treatment team often develops a treatment plan which combines these treatment options in what is called a multimodal treatment approach. Thus, surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are often combined to provide a comprehensive treatment plan. It cannot be stressed enough that each mesothelioma patient is different. Many patients explore alternative remedies to complement the treatment plans of their medical team.
Every Patient is Unique
Because every patient is unique, there is no proper and precise framework for treating mesothelioma. Medical specialists, researchers, and patients themselves know that what may work for one person, may not work for someone else. Due to the long latency period of mesothelioma, many victims of mesothelioma are elderly and often in frail physical condition. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatment exact a physical toll on any person, but it is especially true of patients suffering from mesothelioma. All persons suffering from this rare form of cancer should discuss with their treatment teams the serious side effects attendant to the various available therapies.
The recommended treatment for any mesothelioma patient varies. Doctors recommend certain treatment and combinations of treatment based on various factors. These factors typically center on the stage of the cancer, the location and size of the tumor, and the patient’s age and overall health.
Consult Your Medical Team as to Treatment
Many doctors have only limited experience with mesothelioma because it is such a rare cancer. Your treating physician should be able to provide referrals and sources of information to assist you in selecting a qualified oncologist and other specialists. The most important thing for you to do is secure a seasoned oncologist and medical team. You must trust these specialists and feel comfortable with them
Knowledge is a comforting foundation for well-being and provides peace of mind. It is critical to understand from your medical team the specific treatment options available to you and the risks and benefits associated with those options. You may even want to conduct your own research on your treatment options and arm yourself with a list of questions to pose to your doctors. But bear in mind that you are not a specialist. So while it is important to be fully informed, it is even more important to listen to the sound advice of your medical team and to make decisions premised on a solid foundation. It goes without saying that prior to any final decision on your treatment plan, it is crucial to have your medical team explain, assess, evaluate, and educate you on your medical circumstances and the best options available to you.
Clinical Trials Underway to Test New Treatment Options
One promising development with this devastating cancer is that the more researchers understand it, the more treatment options become available. Never before has there been so much research with respect to mesothelioma. As a result there are numerous clinical trials which are available to qualified patients who meet specific parameters and criteria.
Clinical trials test new drugs and treatments. Currently, there are in excess of 100 mesothelioma clinical trials ongoing to evaluate new treatments. While clinical trials are not without risk due to the experimental nature of clinical trials, if you qualify, you will receive some of the most up-to-date therapies and drugs available. You will also likely receive some of the highest quality medical care. Many patients also take solace in the fact that the research conducted in clinical trials can lead to enhanced treatment for all mesothelioma patients and even someday lead to a cure. We urge you to discuss the viability of participation in clinical trials with your doctor.
Many of our clients also wish to explore the option of clinical trials. These trials are conducted to test researcher’s new discoveries and help find promising new treatments. Clinical trials offer the best hope to someday finding a cure for this devastating disease. We encourage you to discuss clinical trials and all treatment options that are available to you with your medical team.