Treating Pleural Mesothelioma
The Pleura is the tissue that covers the lungs. It can also occur in tissues in your tummy (peritoneum).
Doctors diagnose the condition using chest X-rays and other tests. They may also take a small amount of fluid (called thoracentesis) to look for cancer cells.
They may also provide you with chemotherapy prior to or after surgery. The most commonly used is the combination of drugs pemetrexed and the drug cisplatin.
The lining of the lung (pleura) is affected by pleural mesothelioma. Asbestos fibers can cause these cells to form tumors. These tumors can cause inflammation and swelling in the lungs. These symptoms can result in breathing problems, coughing and other ailments. Cancer can spread to other areas of the body.
Mesothelioma can be a deadly cancer. However there are options for treatment that can increase the chances of survival and improve quality of life. Patients should seek help at mesothelioma treatment centers that specializes in this cancer. These centers can provide many treatments, including chemotherapy as well as radiation therapy and surgery.
If a patient is in an early stage of the disease doctors can remove the tumor and the surrounding tissue during surgery. Doctors will likely use an anesthesia that is general in nature to carry out the procedure. After the anesthesia wears off, patients are taken to a normal room in a hospital to monitor and recuperation.
Before surgery, doctors may test a fluid sample from the abdomen or chest for mesothelioma cell. They may also take the biopsy during surgery. A surgeon may place a tube into the abdomen or chest to collect a sample of tissue with special tools. The samples will then be examined to confirm the diagnosis of pleural msothelioma, and the extent of the disease.
The two most commonly performed procedures to treat pleural mesothelioma are extrapleural pneumonectomy and pleurectomy with decortication. The surgeon will remove both the pleura as well as the lung closest to mesothelioma tumors. In certain instances surgeons may perform a P/D procedure, which leaves the lungs intact however, it removes the mesothelioma tumors and the pleura. This procedure typically has the lowest risk of complications and shorter time to recover.
The type of mesothelioma as well as the patient’s medical history will determine which surgery they will receive. Doctors will also consider the cancer’s stage (extent) and whether it has spread to lymph nodes or other organs prior to deciding on a treatment. The TNM method of staging cancer is used by most doctors. However, treating pleural mesothelioma use the Butchart or Brigham systems to stage the cancer.
Pleural mesothelioma is the most common mesothelioma type affects the lining of the chest wall and the lungs. The symptoms of mesothelioma include chest pain, coughing, and shortness of breath. The exposure to asbestos has been associated with the condition. The mineral fibers can travel into the lungs, where they cause irritation to cells and make them grow out of control. Symptoms don’t usually appear until the cancer has reached an advanced stage. This is why it’s important to get diagnosed early as soon as is possible.
Mesothelioma treatment often involves improving symptoms or reducing the severity of cancer to improve the patient’s quality of life. Patients may receive chemotherapy drugs to stop cancer from returning or spreading. In some cases, patients receive chemotherapy in addition to surgery and/or radiation. This is known as multimodal therapy.
The chemotherapy drugs used to treat pleural mesothelioma were specifically designed to kill cancer cells without harming normal tissue. The most popular treatment is pemetrexed combined with carboplatin or cisplatin. The chemotherapeutic agents are delivered directly into the pleural cavity via inhalation. It is sometimes given in conjunction with or prior to surgery to shrink tumors and increase a patient’s chances of survival. It is also utilized in conjunction with radiation or surgery to treat Adenocarcinoma of the peritoneal region.
A person’s prognosis depends on the stage and type of pleural mesothelioma as as personal and disease-related factors. A doctor can give the 5-year relative survival rate, which compares the likelihood of a person being alive for five years after their diagnosis with the probability that a person with no mesothelioma would survive for that long. It is important to remember that survival rates vary depending on the type of mesothelioma as well as its stage. For instance, biphasic mesothelioma has a lower survival rate than epithelioid mesothelioma. This is because biphasic cancers are a mixture of epithelioid, sarcomatoid, and other cells that are more difficult to treat. However some researchers have discovered that using a combination of both surgery and chemotherapy can prolong the life of a patient. Radiation therapy can be used to alleviate symptoms and kill any remaining cancerous cells after surgery or chemo.
Pleural mesothelioma starts in the lining around the lungs (pleura). The lining is comprised of two layers of tissue that cover the chest cavity and lungs. Asbestos exposure causes the cells of this lining to multiply and alter at an uncontrollable rate. This can lead to cancerous tumors. Mesothelioma is more common in older men of military and working class backgrounds, but anyone exposed to asbestos can get the disease.
After a person is diagnosed with mesothelioma doctors will determine the stage of the disease. The stage of the disease is determined on the extent to which the tumors have spread and the parts of the body they’ve affected. Doctors assign a number for the mesothelioma stages ranging from one to four one, with one being the most advanced and four being the most advanced.
If mesothelioma hasn’t advanced far it is possible for doctors to treat it surgically. The surgeon will drain fluid out of the lungs to relieve chest discomfort and facilitate breathing. The surgery may involve removing the tissue lining the lungs and chest (pleurectomy) or an extensive procedure which removes the entire lung and the tissue surrounding the heart, and diaphragm portions (extrapleural pneumonectomy).
Radiation therapy is another treatment option for mesothelioma. It can be used either before or after surgery in order to shrink tumors, and decrease the chance of recurrence. It can also be utilized as a treatment for palliative care to ease symptoms and improve quality of life, such as chest pain, breathing problems and coughing.
Immunotherapy is another treatment option to enhance the body’s natural defenses against cancer. More research is being conducted on this promising treatment option for pleural msothelioma.
It is important to know that mesothelioma can be treatable with a variety of methods, it’s more difficult than other cancers to cure. Because of this, it is critical to get diagnosed and treated as soon as you can. Mesothelioma specialists can provide patients with a a personalized treatment plan. This includes determining the most effective treatment options and staging of mesothelioma.
For certain patients the standard treatment for pleural mesothelioma may not be sufficient. Doctors can develop a customized treatment plan for each patient that may include other forms of treatment, such as targeted therapy or immunotherapy.
A multidisciplinary team of specialists can help you create an overall treatment plan to manage mesothelioma-related symptoms and possibly prolong your life span. This includes doctors who treat asbestos-related diseases as well as nurses and pharmacists.
The multidisciplinary team can also assist you in obtaining a biopsy that will take out tissue or fluid for testing. A biopsy is the only method to confirm the diagnosis of mesothelioma and determine the type of cancer you have.
Mesothelioma is classified as either epithelioid or sarcomatoid. Epithelioid cancer is more common and develops slower than sarcomatoid cancer. It is more invasive and difficult to treat. Your mesothelioma care team will utilize the results of the biopsy and other tests to determine what kind of surgery you may need.
Pleural mesothelioma is treatable with a variety of surgical procedures. The surgeon will decide on the best procedure depending on the location of your tumors as well as the degree to which your mesothelioma has advanced. Pleurectomy with Decortication (P/D) is also referred to as a Pleuraplasty, is a procedure in which the pleura is removed but the lung lining is left intact. P/D is less invasive than an extrapleural pneumonectomy, which involves the removal of the entire lung. P/D has been demonstrated to improve survival and reduce complications for certain patients.
Chemotherapy is an additional component of a mesothelioma treatment plan which can prolong your life by keeping cancer at the helm. You may receive a combination called pemetrexed, (Alimta), and cisplatin, or carboplatin every three weeks for up to six cycles of treatment. Certain doctors may add the medication known as bevacizumab to the chemotherapy regimen. This is an anti-angiogenesis medication that blocks the creation of blood vessels that feed the tumor.
Because pleural mesothelioma can take 20 years or more to develop, it is vital to consult your doctor about any history of exposure to asbestos. He or she can discuss your risk factors for developing pleural mesothelioma and suggest screening options.
Treating Pleural Mesothelioma