Mesothelioma is a medical condition where mesothelium, a membrane lining the body cavities thoracic cavity (Pleura), abdominal cavity (Peritoneum) and heart sac (Pericardium) develop a rare tumor condition caused due to Asbestos exposure.
A malignant Mesothelioma is known for its late diagnosis due to delayed symptoms; as it may take as much as 20-40 years to develop.
Mesothelioma Treatment Options
A Mesothelioma condition may be treated with one or multiple options depending on the medical stages and the extent of treatment required.
Surgery is the main curative treatment option; can also be used with radiation and chemotherapy for better results. Surgical options offer a higher probability of long-term survival in early stages and can prove to be a great pain reliever in the later stages.
Extrapleural Pneumonectomy – EPP:
Patients in the early stages of Pleural Mesothelioma undergo EPP when the tumor is restricted to chest cavity. EPP involves removal of entire affected lung and/ or removal of parts of the heart lining, diaphragm as well.
Pleurectomy/ Decortication (P/D):
Pleurectomy with decortication is a lung saving surgical procedure and offers an alternative solution to Extrapleural Pneumonectomy – EPP. The diseased lining of affected lung is removed along with any other cancerous growth in the chest.
Cytoreductive Surgery with Heated Chemotherapy (HIPEC):
In Cytoreductive surgery, peritoneum, the abdominal lining is removed. After this, heated chemotherapy drugs are delivered to the affected area.
In the early stages of Mesothelioma, radiation therapy combined with surgery is often applied to reduce and cease the growth of tumor cells. In advanced stages, radiation therapy is used as a pain relief measure.
Being a non-curative treatment option, chemotherapy is widely used in combination with other treatment options as radiation/ surgery. However, chemotherapy does not necessarily need a surgical operation to be effective. Depending on the medical condition, patients may be eligible for chemotherapy but not for surgery.
Multi-modal therapy brings various types of treatment methods together for an increased life expectancy of patients. Various treatment methods like surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and innovative treatments being tried and tested in clinical trials are used in combinations.
In the event of non-responsiveness to standard treatment options, patients often enroll themselves for clinical trials which offer experimental treatment options which are part of ongoing treatment research.
On a similar line of vaccines, it involves developing your immune system to fight cancer cells. Immune cells are taken out of patient’s blood, get treated in the lab to attack tumor cells. Treated immune cells are given back to the patient via blood transfusion to carry out attack on tumor cells.
Under this treatment method, genes are added to cancer cells which make it easier to kill them. Specially modified viruses are used to put desired genes into mesothelioma cells.
Specially designed viruses are injected into the pleural space to kill the mesothelioma cells directly or make immune system do the job.