Malignant mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops in the thin layer of the organs’ skin (mesoderm). Although it is the deadliest and rarest form of cancer, some cases can be cured with a combination of treatments.
According to a research study by The Mesothelioma Center, in 2020, mesothelioma was diagnosed in 3000 people in the US. That’s about 0.3% of all cancer diagnoses in that year.
Now, the bigger question is how to treat this lethal disease?
Doctors recommend various treatments based on the mesothelioma patient’s history and genetic predisposition. Let’s take a look at how patients can prepare for mesothelioma treatment.
No matter what the problem is, never lie to your doctor. Once diagnosed with mesothelioma, stress, fear, anxiety, and millions of mixed emotions will come your way. It’s easy to lose hope when faced with this overwhelmingly fatal condition, so being proactive in your approach is important for optimal treatment.
Talk to Your Doctor
Consult your doctor and get all the information you can. Furthermore, get multiple opinions about your condition. With every major and minor report about your diagnosis, get an opinion from at least three different doctors before you make any decision for yourself.
Take a Look at the Expenses
Irrespective of the extent of cancer, managing the treatment expenses can be a tedious task. To solve this task, the Asbestos Trust Funds – named after the main cause of mesothelioma, i.e., asbestos, were introduced around a century ago to solve. You can always rely on them to support you on your path to recovery. The Asbestos Trust Funds was developed for families to obtain compensation.
Prepare for Worst and Best Case Scenario
You have cancer, and this is pretty much the worst thing that could happen. However, once you step into the treatment phase, preparing yourself for the worst and best-case scenarios is better.
In the best-case scenario, you could be a survivor who bravely fought a lethal problem. Alternatively, you could have severe effects of treatment that might impact your entire life ahead. It may not be rainbows and unicorns for you at the other end of the treatment road. Henceforth, it is better to stay rational and prepare for all the possible situations.
Get in Touch with a Survivor
Who could tell you better about mesothelioma than a survivor? Experience will help you prepare yourself for any issue that might befall you. Listen to what they went through during the treatment and what they did to stay strong throughout the process.
Do the Aftermath
What about the days during the treatment and once you are done? Have you planned your life for these circumstances? Treating cancer is not easy or pretty, so make sure you have done the aftermath of the mesothelioma treatment.
Types of Mesothelioma
Depending upon the organ on which cancer occurs defines various types of mesothelioma. Henceforth, symptoms and treatments vary too. These organs are commonly affected by mesothelioma.
Cancer that occurs in tissue surrounding the lungs is pleural mesothelioma. Symptoms of this type include chest pain, shortness of breath, unusual weight loss, lumps under the skin on the chest, and painful coughs. At stage 1 of this type, patients can live for three years or more. However, patients with stage 4 pleural mesothelioma can only live up to 12 months.
This type of cancer occurs on the tissue in the abdomen, and nausea, abdominal swelling and pain, and unusual weight loss are the common symptoms. This type accounts for 10% to 20% of the total mesothelioma cases. Common symptoms are bowel changes, appetite loss, swelling, and bloating.
The outer layer of the heart has the tumor, and so, the name is pericardial mesothelioma. With surgery, patients live up to six months after the treatment. Irregular heartbeat, chest pain, and painful coughs are some symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma.
The mesothelioma type occurs on the testes’ outer lining called tunica vaginalis. Around 100 cases of the rarest kind of mesothelioma have been reported to date, making up less than 1% of cases. With surgery and chemotherapy, life expectancy is more than two years. Common signs include painless testicular lumps and a swollen scrotum.
There are multiple alternatives when it comes to treating mesothelioma. Depending upon the stage and type of cancer, your doctor will suggest any combination of the following treatments.
Removing the tumor through surgery is the best option for early-stage mesothelioma. Surgery gives patients a higher chance of survival with an extended lifespan. When performed with chemotherapy, all visible tumors from the area are removed, eliminating chances of mesothelioma development later on.
When surgery is not an option, radiation is beneficial to control the symptoms of mesothelioma. The most commonly used radiation therapy is an external beam in which high-energy x-rays are given from outside the body to remove cancer cells.
Patients who are ineligible for surgery are recommended to undergo chemotherapy. Sometimes, it is the primary treatment. In many cases, it is used in combination with other options. Chemotherapy may not help eliminate the tumor but inhibits the growth and helps extend lifespan.
Factors that Might Affect Mesothelioma Treatment
The following few factors might affect mesothelioma treatment:
- The stage at which cancer was diagnosed
- The rate at which the tumor is spreading
- Type of mesothelioma
- Overall health condition of the patient
- Patient’s personal will to recover
In a NutshellMesothelioma is deadly, and treating it comes with several consequences. Nevertheless, it is not impossible to cure this type of cancer. There are numerous treatment options available. Depending upon the extent of the occurrence, your doctor will suggest one or a combination of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, etc. Consult your doctor, listen to a survivor’s story, and above all, be prepared for the worst and best cases of your treatment.