The Best Treatment for Mesothelioma Lung Cancer to Extend Life Expectancy

Tech4Cancer » The Best Treatment for Mesothelioma Lung Cancer to Extend Life Expectancy

Treatment for Mesothelioma Lung Cancer – Mesothelioma is a malignant tumor that develops from the mesothelium. It is the thin layer that covers a wide range of human internal organs. A patient will be diagnosed with this mesothelioma lung cancer if the malignant tumor is found in the lining of the lungs. It is a quite rare cancer type that is mainly caused by asbestos fibers inhaled and later develops in the thin layer of the organs. As for the symptoms, chest pain and shortness of breath become the most common ones. 

Though no cure is currently found for the disease, a proper treatment for mesothelioma lung cancer given to the patient can help to relieve symptoms and prolong lifespan. Aside from the treatments, clinical trials are also required to test the emerging symptoms of the patients with this cancer.

Mesothelioma Lung Cancer Symptoms

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While chest pain and shortness of breath are common in people with mesothelioma lung cancer, some other symptoms are also found in the patients. These include dry cough, respiratory complications, abdominal pain, and fatigue. People who are diagnosed with this cancer also develop other symptoms such as fluid around the lungs (pleural effusion), fever, weakness in the muscle, and night sweats. 

Symptoms of mesothelioma lung cancer usually emerge once the tumors spread and grow. Then, they will press against both the abdominal cavity and chest wall. Just like any other disease, early diagnosis will help patients to have more treatment options. This is simply because the symptoms developed are similar to other conditions. In this way, initial misdiagnosis is not uncommon. To minimize the misdiagnosis, you need to be aware of your asbestos exposure history.

How Is Lung Cancer Treated?

Most of the time, the treatment for mesothelioma lung cancer involves a combination of therapies. Individual treatment will be planned carefully by medical experts based on the type and stage of cancer. Not only that but patient characteristics will also be considered well when creating the plan. Generally speaking, the American Society of Clinical Oncology suggests patients with mesothelioma lung cancer follow these treatment options.

1. Surgery

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This is, perhaps, the most common treatment option suggested to people with mesothelioma. This surgery is often included in a multimodal plan and there are three common reasons why doctors need to perform it on patients with mesothelioma: determine diagnosis, remove cancerous tissues or tumors, and manage symptoms. Most of the time, doctors will combine this surgery with chemotherapy and/ or radiation therapy.

Studies reveal that the survival rate for patients with mesothelioma who undergo surgery significantly increases. You need to know that not all mesothelioma patients are eligible for surgery. However, those who take this option and get cancer identified quickly will have a better chance to survive longer.

There are many types of surgeries for mesothelioma performed by doctors. However, these options can be different from one patient to another depending on the location of the mesothelioma and the goal of the procedure. Some common types of surgery on patients with mesothelioma are therapeutic and palliative surgeries.

To undergo therapeutic surgery, the specialists of mesothelioma lung cancer will determine the option based on the health, cancer cell type, and cancer stage of the patients. The goal of this surgery is to reduce, if not remove the cancerous tissue. The surgical options can be pleurectomy or extrapleural pneumonectomy. 

In pleurectomy surgery, doctors will open the chest and get rid of the lung linings as well as tumors from the chest cavity. This surgery is often included in the larger procedure called pleurectomy/ decortication (P/ D). Meanwhile, the extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) is performed to remove one of the patients’ lungs along with its surrounding tissues. This aggressive procedure might include removing the linings of the abdomen, heart, and parts or all of the diaphragm. To undergo this EPP, patients with mesothelioma should be in a relatively healthy condition and the cancer is still in the early stages.

2. Chemotherapy

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The next common treatment for mesothelioma lung cancer often suggested by medical experts is chemotherapy. The drugs used in the treatment will help patients to kill cancer cells. Not only that but they can also prevent the harmful cells from multiplying. Doctors might use this chemotherapy alone to kill the cancer cells or combine it with surgery. As for the standard treatment using chemotherapy is giving cisplatin or carboplatin with pemetrexed to the patients. Though chemotherapy can be used to cure malignant mesothelioma, the treatment is often seen as effective when it is combined with other treatments. This procedure can help patients to limit the spread of cancer and to increase the survival rate of the patients as well as improve their life quality.

The two most-used chemotherapy methods applied to people with mesothelioma lung cancer are systemic and intracavitary chemotherapy. In systemic chemotherapy, the drugs will be given to patients through an IV. It can be done by injecting the patients or given in pill form. As for intracavitary chemotherapy, the drugs will be given during surgery. The chemotherapy will be injected into the patients into the body cavity where the tumors are found directly. In patients with mesothelioma lung cancer, chemotherapy is injected into the pleural or peritoneal cavity.

3. Radiation Therapy

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Just like chemotherapy, radiation therapy is also a treatment for mesothelioma cancer lungs that aimed to kill the cancer cells. In this way, the energy used in the therapy might help patients to avoid the spread of tumors. Radiation therapy is often included in the multimodal treatment approach planned for pleural mesothelioma. The therapy given can lower symptoms of cancer and extend the lifespan of the patients.

The radiation therapy itself is often conducted before or after surgical therapy. But, whether it is pre-or -post surgery, the energy is supposed to kill cells of tumors, preventing them to spread after the surgery procedure. SMART trial or Surgery for Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma after Radiotherapy is considered the most successful treatment option when it comes to multimodal mesothelioma based on studies. In this treatment, patients will be given radiation therapy in high doses just before the surgery procedure. Studies also reveal that this SMART trial has provided the highest survival results on people with malignant pleural mesothelioma.

4. Multimodal Therapy

For short, multimodal is a therapy given to mesothelioma people by combining two or more cancer treatment types. Many positive reports linked to the success of this combined therapy to treat mesothelioma patients. It also offers a higher survival rate if compared to individual therapies. However, some factors contribute to identifying whether a patient makes a perfect candidate for this treatment for mesothelioma lung cancer or not. Doctors will determine the stage of cancer, cell type, and overall health of the patients before recommending this treatment for them.

The common components of multimodal therapy often include chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation. Chemotherapy comes with limited success in patients’ survival when used alone. However, it can improve patients’ survival up to 22 months or longer when included in multimodal therapy. The same thing can be said with the surgical procedure. As for radiation, it can be used to treat patients with mesothelioma lung cancer at any stage. However, the efficiency of the treatment will improve significantly if it is added to the multimodal approach.