Anything affecting our health and resulting in unusual symptoms is a disease. The intensity of disease may differ depending on its cause and effect on our body. Diagnostic tests and treatments play a vital role in finding the cause and preventing its relapse. For example, someone with a disease like hyper or hypothyroidism resulting from a disturbance in the thyroid gland has hope of treatment and lives a healthy life afterward. On the other hand, someone diagnosed with cancer has little to no hope of survival, depending on its extent and aggression.
Cancer is one of the deadliest diseases existing today, and one of its aggressive forms is mesothelioma. Caused by genetic or prolonged exposure to asbestos, mesothelioma affects the lung and abdominal cavity by disturbing the cellular lining of the cells. Mesothelial is a layer of tissue covering our lungs, abdominal cavity, and other body organs. It is a rare form of cancer with survival chances of 9 to 12 months. Unfortunately, despite modern treatment interventions, this cancer diagnosis often gets detected in its last stage. In the case of cancer, the prognosis is poor, with high chances of recurrence.
An Outlook About Mesothelioma
Since the 1970s, many countries have banned asbestos, but it still exists in construction sites. Asbestos is a carcinogenic mineral found in soil. As a result, those working in the construction field for more than 25 years are more prone to develop mesothelioma. Many people do not know about this cancer, and they might ask, “what are the symptoms of mesothelioma?” Since this disease targets the lungs, the initial symptoms are persistent cough, fever, night sweats, and troubled breathing. Once diagnosed, the treatment options may vary and offer little to no improvement regarding the extent of malignant mesothelioma.
Following are some of the treatment options used by the doctors.
Surgeries planned to treat mesothelioma can be done in the following four ways.
- Wide local excision: this surgical procedure involves removing the cancerous cells and some healthy tissues surrounding it.
- Decortication: Mesothelioma mainly affects the pleural cavity and lungs in most cases. If the cancer spread has affected the outer lining of the lungs, another surgery that doctors suggest is to remove part of the pleural lining affected by the cancerous growth.
- Pleurodesis: It is a surgical process involving chemicals or drugs to induce a scar in the layers of the pleura. Your doctor will drain the fluid accumulated between the layers and use the chemicals to make a scar. This procedure helps alleviate the symptoms resulting from mesothelioma and prevents fluid accumulation in the pleural cavity.
- Extrapleural Pneumonectomy: Malignant mesothelioma is aggressive and spreads rapidly. If it extends beyond the pleural cavity to the lungs, surgery to remove one whole lung becomes necessary to prevent its spread further. In some cases, it also includes removing part of the lining of the chest, diaphragm, and sac lining around the heart.
2. Radiation therapy
This therapeutic method is frequently utilized as palliative therapy or as a follow-up after surgery. There is a risk of recurrence in malignancies that spread quickly, such as mesothelioma. Specific cells are difficult to remove through surgery. Doctors use radiation therapy to remove cells after surgery. Radiation therapy involves using high-energy x-rays or other radiation to destroy the cancerous cells and prevent them from growing again. As a palliative therapy, it relieves the symptoms and helps in improving a patient’s quality of life.
It is another form of cancer treatment that involves no surgery or radiation. Instead, it involves some specified drugs to stop the growth of cancerous cells and prevent their division. These drugs are oral, and in some cases, for quick absorption in the bloodstream, your doctor may suggest administering them via injections. Targeted chemotherapy is the best approach to treat the areas affected by cancerous cells preventing any further damage to the healthy tissues. Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy involves using the chemotherapy drugs at high temperatures, which often requires heating. Heated chemotherapy drugs kill more cancer cells preventing their further growth and multiplication.
Our body has its defense mechanism to ward off disease. Had it not been for our immune system, we would stay sick 24/7 as our surroundings have many microbes and other pathogens. Immunotherapy in cancer patients involves strengthening their immune system to fight cancerous cells. It involves substances or antibodies to boost the immune system. The cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation kill the cancer cell; it also weakens the immune system leaving it prone to diseases and recurrence of malignant mesothelioma. Immunotherapy has its different protocols like boosting T cells and other checkpoint proteins in the body to monitor the immune system and attack any recurrent cancer cells.
Cancer typically recurs when a cell has survived after surgery or chemotherapy. Cancerous cells divide quickly, leading to malignancy. Multiple treatments exist to prevent the spread of cancer, and in case of recurrence, the treatment options become more limited. Immunotherapy or other combination therapies can help in treating by destroying the cancer cells. However, the administration of these treatments depends on the immunity and other physical aspects of a patient. Depending on the intensity of spread and damage to the internal organs, treatment options vary from patient to patient.