Mesothelioma Treatment and Care: Know Your Options and Making the Best Choices
Our greater knowledge of the effects and characteristics of mesothelioma have opened up the possibility of pursuing different treatment options, allowing you a greater chance of making the best choice based on your diagnosis.
If you are diagnosed with this rare form of cancer and proceed to make a mesothelioma claim, you will not only find out the specific form of the condition that you have, but you should be offered the opportunity to ask doctors and specialists for details of all the treatment options available.
The effects of exposure to asbestos at some point in your working life or in your home is the subject of ongoing research and we are discovering more about malignant mesothelioma as time goes on.
Although there is still much to learn about this devastating condition, scientists are continue to establish new ways to prevent, diagnose and subsequently treat mesothelioma.
Understanding how asbestos causes change to mesothelial cells and their DNA in order to cause cancer, is the focus of medical research and as our knowledge develops, this allows improvements in treatment methods such as surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Many of us are familiar with the use of chemotherapy to try and combat various cancers that invade our bodies and some chemotherapies can indeed have the effect of shrinking or slowing the growth of mesotheliomas.
Studies are ongoing to continually test and update newer chemotherapy drugs which may help but as it stands at the moment, this form of treatment can often only be effective for a limited period of time.
Another form of treatment that is gaining traction is the use of photodynamic therapy (PDT).
This treatment involves a light-activated drug being injected into your vein, which allows the drug to spread through your body and target cancer cells.
Once the PDT has been allowed to take effect over a few days, a special red light on the end of a tube is placed onto your chest and the light causes a chemical reaction that activates the drug and subsequently kills the cancer cells.
The positive aspects of PDT are that the drug is only active in the areas exposed to this light, which often means that the side-effects are fewer than when a drug is used that spreads throughout your body.
Unfortunately, standard treatments are still proving relatively ineffective in combatting the effects of mesothelioma and this is a good reason why alternative therapies are being explored.
Gene therapy works by attempting to add new genes to cancer cells in order to make them easier to kill.
One particular approach which is being tried involves using special viruses that have been modified under laboratory conditions. These are injected into the patient’s pleural space with the purpose of infecting the mesothelioma cells.
The virus carries a gene that helps to activate your body’s immune system and starts to attack cancer cells, and along with other newer forms of treatment such as immunotherapy and other virus therapies, these advancements in treatment options are at least given patients a greater range of viable choices to ask about.
Lisa Calder is a health professional and understands that better patient knowledge can improve treatment options. She likes to share her thoughts and insights online and is a regular writer for several health-related websites.