Mesothelioma type and what stage it’s in are major factors in your treatment. But the current types of treatment being used for mesothelioma include chemotherapy, surgery, radiation as well as some new clinical options that might be available.
What Treatment Options Are There?
Your current treatment options include radiation, surgery, or chemotherapy. In many cases, a combination of two or even three different types of treatments are used to ensure that all cancerous cells are removed from your organs.
Treatments that are the most successful and have resulted in the patients going into remission is catching the disease in its early stages and using aggressive treatment.
The main purpose of surgery is to remove cancerous tumors and to provide the patient with pain-relief. The surgeries tend to be long and recovery can take several weeks. In addition to removing the tumors, portions of the organs are sometimes removed as well.
Although heated chemotherapy has been a controversial aspect of mesothelioma treatment, it’s an important factor in the treatment. The chemotherapy is the only way to ensure that the microscopic cancerous cells that remain following surgery are removed. Chemotherapy has been an effective form of treatment during each stage of mesothelioma cancer.
Mesothelioma treatments can involve the use of radiation both before and after surgery. When used before the surgery, the radiation is designed to shrink the tumors. After the surgery, the radiation is designed to help remove any cancerous cells that still remain in the body.
Studies indicate that aggressive multimodal treatments that combine the powerful forces of both radiation and heated chemotherapy have done a great deal to improve the life expectancy of patients with mesothelioma cancer.
Clinical trials are always underway. The hope is that one of the clinical trials will lead to an even more effective way to treat mesothelioma. Several current promising clinical trials include research into the use of gene therapy, immunotherapy treatments, and even photodynamic therapy.
Pleural Treatment: Extrapleural Pneumonectomy
Patients who have been diagnosed an early stage of mesothelioma are eligible for this type of treatment. The treatment is intense and involves the removal of cancerous portions of lungs as well as the removal of the pleura which lines the lungs and a section of the diaphragm.
Patients who have been recently diagnosed with mesothelioma that’s in its early stages have enjoyed a great deal of success when they’ve undergone extrapleural pneumonectomy, a treatment developed by Dr. David Sugarbaker. With more than 30 years of experience, Dr. David Sugarbaker has used his revolutionary treatment to extend the lives of thousands of patients.
The Treatment Process
- Pre-operative Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy
- Extrapleural Pneumonectomy Surgery & Chemotherapy
- Adjuvant Chemotherapy & IMRT Radiation Therapy
61.2% of all patients who took advantage of Dr. David Sugarbaker’s extrapleural pneumonectomy enjoyed a life expectancy that was two years longer than anticipated prior to Sugarbaker’s treatment.
In many cases, it’s suggested that patients get a cisplatin injection which is designed to remove any cancerous cells that weren’t removed during the surgery. The medication is quite strong. A chest catheter is used to administer it.
Chemotherapy is a regular part of the treatment. What differs is the exact chemotherapy medication used which is altered depending on patient response.
A study conducted by Dr. Anne Tsao revealed that 13% of patients who underwent EPP multimodal treatment had a local recurrence of their mesothelioma, while more than 50% experience distant recurrence.
Pleurectomy with Decortication Mesothelioma Treatment
Dr. Robert Cameron developed a treatment, pleurectomy with decortication. It is the only form of treatment for pleural mesothelioma that doesn’t require the removal of a portion of the lung, which has made it a very popular form of treatment. While the lungs are spared, Pleurectomy with decortication does require that the removal off the diseased lining surrounding the lungs.
Pleurectomy with Decortication Treatment Procedure
- Pre-operative Neoadjuvant chemotherapy
- Pleurectomy Surgery and Chemotherapy
- Post-operative Adjuvant Chemotherapy
In most cases, Dr. Cameron’s patients will need to undergo 4 weeks of chemotherapy treatment in order to remove microscopic cancerous cells from developing into future tumors. In some cases, some of the patients are encouraged to go through a chemotherapy process before surgery in an attempt to shrink the size of the initial tumors, which makes it easier to remove the tissue during the surgery and can also decrease post-surgery recovery time.
Peritoneal Treatment: Cytoreduction with HIPEC
The Sugarbaker Procedure was developed by Dr. Paul Sugarbaker and is an effective means of treating peritoneal mesothelioma in the abdomen. In addition to using cytoreductive surgery, the Sugarbaker Procedure also uses intraoperative heated chemotherapy which has proven to be a very effective method for removing any cancerous tissue that remains after surgery, increasing the patient’s life expectancy.
Stages of the Sugarbaker Procedure
• Pre-Operative Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy
• Cytoreduction Surgery and HIPEC Chemotherapy
• Post-Operative radiation and Adjuvant Chemotherapy
Mesothelioma Clinical Trials
More than 50% of patient who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma have participated in a minimum of one clinical trial. Some clinical trials have been designed to improve the safety, comfort, and effectiveness of current treatment, while others explore the possible development of new techniques.
Some clinical trials are set up so participants are compensated for their participation.
Data indicates that patients who opted to participate in a mesothelioma clinical trial enjoy a longer life expectancy than those that don’t.
The medical community is constantly engaged in developing experimental therapies. Gene therapy is one of the newest experimental therapies currently being explored as a possible treatment for mesothelioma. Researchers hope that they can take cancerous organ cells, repair them, and convert them into healthy cells.
Medical professionals devoted to helping patients with mesothelioma are currently very excited about immunotherapy which is a treatment that stimulates the immune system and encourages it to attack any mesothelioma cells currently in the body’s organs and organ lining. Immunotherapy shows promise when used to treat patients who have not experienced a positive response to chemotherapy.
Researchers hope to be able to use light sourced oxygen to kill mesothelioma cells. This experimental treatment is called photodynamic therapy. A recent study showed that individuals who participated in photodynamic therapy clinics lived anywhere from 31.4 to 41.2 months longer than those who didn’t partake in the experimental treatment.