Mesothelioma help is a cancer of the mesothelium, which is a thin membrane which protects and lubricates different body cavities for example the chest and abdominal cavities. This is caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos, which might happen for workers in the industry.
Types of Mesothelioma
The various types of Mesothelioma are:
Pleural Mesothelioma – Cancer of mesothelium in the lungs.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma – Cancer of the mesothelium surrounding the abdomen.
Pericardial Mesothelioma – Cancer of the mesothelium surrounding the heart.
Mesothelioma is a very difficult malignancy to diagnose since the symptoms of the disease very closely resemble other respiratory illnesses and since the pathology can be very difficult to distinguish from the adenocarcinoma of the lung. Misdiagnosis and late detection are very common because of the aforementioned reasons. The common symptoms observed in the victims are chest pain, chronic cough, effusions of the chest and abdomen and presence of blood in lung fluid.
Diagnostic surgeries including a biopsy are typically required to determining the type of malignant cells. A body imaging scan, including a Magnetic Resonance Image (MRI), computer topography (CT scan) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) are required to find out about the extent and location of the disease.
Treatment of Mesothelioma
Patients suffering from Mesothelioma need specialized care and treatment, so that the disease can be treated successfully. Determining a credible source of information about the disease and the medical options available is of the highest priority. The most important step that a patient and the family need to take is finding and selecting a specialist doctor with experience of treating this disease. Along with the treatment, friends and family also play a very important part in the recovery from the illness. Mental support from all quarters is a very vital medicine at this time.
People diagnosed with this disease are often told to expect a survival rate of only eight to twelve months. However the specialists in treating malignant Mesothelioma at leading cancer centres often have better statistics. The various options available when it comes to the treatment include surgery, chemotherapy or radiation.
Since the proper diagnosis of mesothelioma is inconclusive, diagnostic surgery is a very essential step. Thoracoscopy, Video Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS), Mediastinoscopy and Laproscopy are the most common techniques and methods used to successfully diagnose this disease.
The following Palliative Procedures are used to treat a symptom of Mesothelioma without aggressively treating the disease:
Chest Tube Drainage and Pleurodesis
Thoracoscopy and Pleurodesis
The following procedures are performed with “curative intent”
Pleurectomy and Decortication is performed for patients with early stage Pleural
Extrapleural Pneumonectomy is one of the most radical surgical approaches.
Cytoreductive Surgery for Peritoneal Mesothelioma
This process is for the treatment of cancer using chemical substances by destroying the cancer cells and preventing them from multiplying. Since the chemotherapy for Mesothelioma is not considered as curative the goals which the doctors try to achieve through chemotherapy are:
Control the cancer by stalling or stopping its growth.
Shrink the tumors prior to surgery.
Relieve symptoms such as pain.
Radiation therapy or radiotherapy treats cancer by using penetrating beams of high energy or streams of particles called radiation. In the treatment of Mesothelioma radiation may be used aggressively either in combination with surgery or palliatively to control the symptoms.
As mentioned earlier support from friends and family of the patient is a very vital component in the treatment. People around can show their support by wearing Mesothelioma awareness wristbands. There are several support groups available and it greatly helps to connect with other families enduring the same battle.