Mesothelioma is touted as deadly because most of the cases

are diagnosed when in advanced stage and doctors have little

solace to offer by then. Still doctors try to do their best

to relieve the patients from severe pain of mesothelioma

using advanced treatments.

Surgery

Before considering surgery as one of the propositions for

the treatment of malignant cancer, the health of the patient

needs to be carefully evaluated. The tests are performed to

check whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the

body or not. Also evaluation of the patient’s lung and heart

functions is done. In case of the former, a mesothelioma

surgery cannot be performed. Both the heart and lungs need

to be properly functioning state for surgery to take place.

Surgery is of two types: aggressive surgery (long-term

control) and palliative procedures (relief of symptoms).

Let’s define each of them separately.

Aggressive surgery

Aggressive surgery involves removal of the lung, the pleura,

the diaphragm and the pericardium by a procedure, which is

known as extra pleural pneumonectomy. The intention to

follow this method is to physically remove as much of the

tumor as possible. It is in fact adopting a bold method to

do away with the disease-hence the name is “Aggressive

surgery”.

This surgery is extremely complicated and involves high

risk. This is because of the fact that there are possible

chances of death due to the same within a month. Extra

pleural pneumonectomy is therefore normally performed on

younger patients who are in good health and are in a

position to tolerate the surgery.

Palliative Procedures

Palliative procedures are normally performed when the cancer

is in its advanced form. These procedures are performed to

control the symptoms of mesothelioma rather than cure them.

Pleurectomy (also decortications) is the process to

surgically remove the pleura. This method reduces the pain

caused by the cancerous mass and may also prevent the

recurrence of pleural effusion (fluid collection which

causes tremendous breathlessness). For patients suffering

from peritoneal mesothelioma, complete surgical removal of

the entire tumor is not entirely possible. In this case the

surgery aims to extenuate the symptoms, such as ascites,

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is the method in which drugs are used to treat

mesothelioma. It has been observed that this method is

partially succesfull. This is because the patient recovers

partially after using drugs or combination of drugs (In fact

the efficacy of this method increases, if combination of

drugs are used at the same time.) Some of these combinations

have proved successful and new drugs are being developed for

the treatment of this cancer.

Radiation Therapy

In this method the tumor is killed by using radiation doses.

However, with the help of this procedure, killing the tumor

cells is quite difficult. This is because of the fact that

it is difficult to specifically locate the malignant cells.

Also the heart, lungs and other organs may surround the

same, and they are at the risk of getting damaged by the

radiation dosage. However lower doses of radiation can be

used to reduce the disease to a certain extent.

Dual Therapy

Both chemotherapy and radiation are used in conjunction

after the performance of the surgery. They both help in

killing any remaining tumor cells that were not removed by

surgery and may also help in relieving symptoms of the

disease like chest pain.

The treatment methods, which are described above, are direct

ways of treating a person suffering from mesothelioma.

However doctors and researchers are always on the lookout

for new ways to treat mesothelioma. The necessity for the

evolution of alternative ways to treat patients suffering

from mesothelioma arises because of the complex nature of

different types of cancers, and because patients respond

differently to various types of medical care.

Some of them are as follows:

Immunoagumentive Therapy (IAT)

The goal of IAT is to strengthen the body’s own immune

system. The same is done by balancing four different

proteins found in the blood.

Intraoperative Photodynamic Therapy (IPT)

This method of treatment is being used to cure early stages

of mesothelioma in the chest. IPT uses special drugs and

light to kill cancer cells during surgery. A drug that makes

tumor cells more sensitive to light is injected into a vein

several days before surgery. During surgery, a special light

is used to locate the cancer.

Gene Therapy

This is a unique method whereby the researchers either try

to improve the body’s natural ability to fight against the

diseases or alternatively make the cancer cells more

sensitive to other kinds of therapy.