Information by – Amruta Shinde
Mesothelioma cancer that develops from the thin layer of tissue that covers many of the internal organs (known as the mesothelium). The most common area affected is the lining of the lungs and chest wall.
- Fewer than 100 thousand cases per year (India)
- Treatment can help, but this condition can’t be cured
- Requires a medical diagnosis
- Lab tests or imaging always required
- Cancerous (malignant) mesothelioma is the most common form, usually affecting the lungs.
- A cough, chest pain and shortness of breath are symptoms.
- Treatment may include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Supportive treatments can relieve symptoms.
- Mesothelioma cancer
Θ Types of Mesothelioma, Causes & Symptoms –
In order to understand mesothelioma and choose the best path to extend survival, you must first grasp some of the basic information about this type of cancer, including its causes, types and symptoms.
● Causes –
Exposure to asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral once highly regarded for its insulation and fire-retardant properties, is the predominant cause of mesothelioma.
Approximately 75 percent of cases are men who were exposed to asbestos while serving in the military or working certain high-risk blue-collar jobs, including construction, firefighting, shipbuilding and industrial work.
Secondhand exposure also occurs when washing the clothes of someone in a high-risk occupation and living near abandoned asbestos mines or areas where asbestos.
● Types –
Each type of mesothelioma is classified by the location in the body where it develops. Prognosis, symptoms and treatment options vary by type.
The pleural and peritoneal types of mesothelioma are the most common, while pericardial accounts for just 1 percent of cases. Another rare type known as testicular mesothelioma represents less than 1 percent of all mesotheliomas.
● Pleural Mesothelioma-
– Most common type.
– Forms on soft tissue.
– Best treated with multi-modal approach.
● Peritneal Mesothelioma-
– Less than 20% of all cases .
– Develops on lining surrounding the abdomen.
– Responds best to a combination of surgery & heated chemotherapy.
● Pericardial Mesothelioma –
– Rarest type .
– Forms on soft tissue around the heart.
– Best treated with a multimodal approach .
● Common Mesothelioma Symptoms –
- Dry coughing
- Shortness of breath
- Respiratory complications
- Pain in the chest or abdomen
- Fever or night sweats
- Pleural effusion (fluid around the lungs)
- Muscle weakness.
Θ Four Stages of Mesothelioma Cancer –
The stage of mesothelioma describes how far the cancer has spread locally, regionally, and distantly (metastasized) from its point of origin. Doctors label the extent of pleural mesothelioma as stage 1, 2, 3 or 4.
During the early stages of mesothelioma, tumors are localized. By the late stages, the cancer has spread to nearby locations or throughout the body.
Θ What Are Your Treatment Options ?
The leading treatment options for mesothelioma include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Many specialists prefer to combine two or more of these treatments, which is an approach known as multi-modal therapy. Numerous studies show this approach improves survival rates.
Palliative treatments that ease symptoms are quite common for patients of all stages. Emerging therapies in clinical trials, such as immunotherapy, show promise. Additionally, many survivors credit alternative treatments for helping them live longer, though patients should be skeptical of any practitioner who claims to be able to cure cancer.
Surgery can be used for diagnostic or aggressive and potentially curative purposes. It offers the best chance of long-term survival for eligible pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma patients.
Chemotherapy can alleviate symptoms, improve quality of life and extend survival, but it can also carry unpleasant side effects.
With fewer side effects than chemotherapy, radiation can help shrink tumors and relieve pain. It can be performed at all stages.
4) Multimodal Treatment
A multimodal approach combines two or more traditional treatments, including chemotherapy, surgery and radiation. Studies show multimodal therapy can improve survival.
Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC) is a multimodal treatment that involves heating chemotherapy drugs and delivering them to the abdomen after surgery.