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Treatments for Malignant Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that affects the mesothelium, which is the thin lining on the surface of lungs or abdomen that is typically due to long term exposure to asbestos.  Asbestos is a naturally occurring, toxic mineral that was commonly used in insulation, fireproofing, brake linings, ceiling and floor tiles, partitions, and other building materials until the mid 1980s when it was banned. 

There are three types of mesothelioma:

Symptoms of the disease do not usually appear until anywhere from ten to forty years from time of exposure.  Symptoms can include:

  • Abdominal pain and bloating
  • Fatigue, decreased appetite and weight loss
  • Chest pain and breathing difficulties
  • Cough and swelling of the neck and face

Because the symptoms of mesothelioma are similar those of other conditions, diagnosing can be delayed and difficult.  If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms like above, it is important to get the right diagnosis from an experienced, qualified doctor.

Early diagnosis is one key to prolonging survival time.  Other key factors are age, general health, stage of the cancer, and whether surgery is an option.  Malignant mesothelioma affects more men than women and the average age of diagnosis is sixty years old, however the number of cases for women and the younger population has been increasing in recent years.  The average survival time varies from four to eighteen months, however new treatment options are showing promise in extending life expectancy. 

Research for treatments and cures for mesothelioma is being conducted worldwide, although at present there is no known cure.  The three most common and standard mesothelioma therapies are:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation Therapy

These treatments are either used alone or in combination in attempts to eliminate the cancer and increase survival times and quality of life.   Many clinical trials are being conducted to find cures and ways to control mesothelioma.  Clinical trials are research studies aimed at better understanding the disease in hopes of finding or improving treatments.  Some alternative treatment options for mesothelioma are:

  • Chemotherapy combined with drug therapy
  • Multimodality Therapy – uses combination of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, and drug therapy
  • Immunotherapy – activates immune system cells to attack the cancer
  • Gene Therapy – replacing or suppressing cancerous cells to cure or stop the spreading of cancer
  • Laser Therapy or Targeted Radiation combined with drug therapy
  • Antiangiogenesis Therapy- uses drugs or other substances to stop tumors from making new blood vessels

Any medical or clinical trials information provided is intended to assist those diagnosed with mesothelioma and to be informational in nature. We do not warrant or guarantee the accuracy of the information provided. Any information you obtain through our articles should not be used as a substitute for a visit with a health care professional who is familiar with your medical situation; we can not provide personal medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare provider to discuss your specific healthcare needs.  For legal information about how to receive compensation that can help pay for treatments, our mesothelioma attorneys are very experienced and can offer expert advice and caring support.