Once a person has been diagnosed with this asbestos related cancer, the patient and doctor can begin to discuss all the mesothelioma treatment options available. There are several traditional types of treatment including chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and multimodal therapy. The mesothelioma treatment that will be administered to the patient will be decided on a couple factors such as, age of the patient, the stage of mesothelioma, as well as the overall health of patient. After the common mesothelioma treatments are understood, another topic that should be discussed is the inclusion and practice of alternative and complementary therapies. While these are not known for curing mesothelioma, they are known for improving quality of life.
Biopsies and Blood Marker Tests
Biopsies are done in order to examine the tumor and its surrounding fluid. Doctors can determine the makeup of the cancer which is important as different makeups respond to treatment plans differently.
These tests help physicians better diagnose patients. They are used to help determine the type of treatment that the patient will be offered and they also help provide an accurate prognosis.
The tests measure the levels of specific biomarkers that are present in both healthy people and mesothelioma patients. These blood tests include:
- Mesomark – This test measures the level of mesothelin related peptides in the blood. Higher concentrations are found in mesothelioma patients. This test has been FDA approved.
- Cancer Antigen 125 – CA125 is found in healthy individuals but a higher concentration of the antigen is found in mesothelioma patients.
- Fibulin 3- Research is underway to determine if testing for this protein will provide an early diagnosis for mesothelioma.
Which Would You Like To Learn First?
Traditional Mesothelioma Treatment
Chemotherapy also known as systemic therapy, is administered either orally or by infusion to kill any cancer cells that are in the body, and there are a variety of medications. Although it is not curative it has proven to help increase the survival rate. Chemotherapy is also used to reduce pain and improve the patient’s quality of life.
- Kill mesothelioma cells
- Prevent cancerous cells from spreading
- Make other treatments more effective, such as surgery
- Shrink tumors
- Relieve pain
Radiation therapy is treatment that is used in combination with surgery and chemotherapy. Sometimes it is used alone to kill cancerous cells, manage tumors and it help to stop cancer from spreading along the path of the incision. Recent data shows that surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation together helps to kill cancer cells. Although oncologists have been using radiation treatment to help treat cancer for many years, technology has made it a more refined treatment. Click the button below to learn more about the pro’s and con’s of radiation therapy.
Traditionally, treatment for this serious and very aggressive cancer have been limited. More options have become available, some in the form of surgery. There are different types of surgery for mesothelioma and when surgery is recommended it is either for the purpose of curing the cancer, to relieve debilitating and painful symptoms of the disease, or to diagnose the cancer type and stage. Below are various surgery options that are used to treat mesothelioma.
Studies of experimental or new therapies used on patients are known as clinical trials. Often doctors suggest that a patient participate in a clinical trial or new treatment if it is believed the patient may receive a positive outcome or other positive benefits from the trial. Clinical trials test groundbreaking research that have not yet been approved by the FDA and is still in a testing phase. On our clinical trials page, we will discuss,
- Clinical trial objectives
- Why choose clinical trials
- What clinical trials offers the patient
- Common concerns about clinical trials
- Recruitment specifications
- Participation guidelines
- Available clinical trials that are going on today.
S.M.A.R.T. Treatment For Mesothelioma
Surgery for Mesothelioma After Radiation Treatment
Is another multimodal approach to pleural mesothelioma. This approach can change how the disease is treated. Many studies have indicated that the combination of chemotherapy or radiation treatment with surgery has substantially increased the life expectancy of mesothelioma patients. Most multimodal treatments are treated with chemotherapy or radiation upon completion of surgery. SMART switches up the order and the results have been positive.
SMART is considered to be a potential breakthrough, however further research still needs to be conducted to determine if SMART can become a standard treatment for mesothelioma patients. Patients who undergo SMART treatment are living much longer.
Doctors who use the SMART approach simply reverse the two-step process. Usually, doctors treat the patient with chemotherapy or radiation after surgery has been completed. In this approach radiation therapy is administered prior to surgery.
Here’s How S.M.A.R.T. Works:
Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
First, a high dose of IMMRT is given to the patient. IMRT is a type of radiation that delivers different radiation levesl at the same time. Levels of radiation using the SMART approach are much higher than what is normally given. This is possible because the lung is removed soon after the radiation.
Extrapleural Pneumonectomy (EPP)
Patients are admitted for an EPP about 6 days after the radiation treatment. The surgeon removes the affected lung as well as the tissue surrounding it. It is hoped that future SMART approaches will lead to lung-sparing pleurectomies.
Cost For Mesothelioma Treatment:
Cancer treatment of any type is costly and planning ahead could help patients to avoid those unexpected expenses. When diagnosed with a serious disease, the cost of treatment and how that cost is going to be covered comes to mind quickly. If patients and families plan ahead, they can avoid being caught off guard by unexpected expenses.
Patients usually end up with more expenses than they expected because mesothelioma treatment can be extremely costly. These costs include medical costs as well as travel and caregiver expenses. Out of pocket expenses may include copayments, deductibles, and coinsurance. These are just some of the costs that patients must plan for.
Bringing up the cost of treatment to the doctor immediately will give patients a realistic expectation and allow them to take some type of immediate action to cover the treatment costs. Treatments can be paid for in several different ways. Sometimes patients have insurance and a savings they can utilize, but this might not be enough.
Researching ways to lower costs should be done right away. Some things that may help are charitable organizations and asbestos trust funds. Those exposed to asbestos may be entitled to financial compensation from the government or in case of exposure during the military, through Veterans Affairs.
The expenses of mesothelioma treatment vary with each individual patient and depends also on where they are in the treatment process. Specialists may have advice on how to manage the cost of treatment as well as direct patients to resources that could offer assistance.
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