Mesothelioma is a rare kind of cancer that is primarily caused due to asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a mineral compound often used in construction and combination with various materials. However, symptoms of mesothelioma do not show until decades after the exposure. Therefore, this cancer is often aggressive as it has progressed by the time it is detected. Due to this, mesothelioma patients have an average life expectancy of 12 -22 months.
Peritoneal and pleural mesothelioma is the most commonly found type of mesothelioma. Whereas pericardial and testicular mesothelioma is rarer types. Symptoms of this disease differ based on the type or location of the tumor. For instance, symptoms of pleural mesothelioma, which occurs near the lungs, include:
- Shortness of breath.
- Painful coughing.
- Unexplained or unexpected weight loss.
- Lumps under the skin.
- On the other hand, peritoneal mesothelioma occurs in the abdominal region. Its symptoms consist of:
- Pain and swelling in the abdominal region.
- Unexplained or unexpected weight loss.
Being diagnosed with a disease as rare and dangerous as mesothelioma can be scary. Therefore, it is necessary to discuss anything that comes to mind with your healthcare professional. Moreover, it is crucial to choose an experienced oncologist dealing with such cases.
Furthermore, various websites and organizations such as mesotheliomahope.com are dedicated to spreading awareness regarding this disease. So, you can refer to these to better understand your condition and learn about available options.
Prognosis is the first thing that patients are concerned about after being diagnosed. It indicates the course of development of a disease and its chances of improving or worsening. The prognosis of mesothelioma patients is often poor due to the nature of this cancer. However, in some cases, the prognosis can be good as well. It all depends on when it is detected and how it is treated.
The prognosis for mesothelioma patients is based on different factors. These include:
- Type and location.
- The stage at which it is detected.
- The general health of the patient.
Treatment options available for mesothelioma are the same ones used for other types of cancer. The course of treatment is decided based on the prognosis. Your oncologist can suggest one or a combination of two different treatments based on the stage of cancer and other factors.
Medical procedures that are used to treat mesothelioma include:
Surgery is one of the commonly used treatment methods for cancer patients. It aims to remove all or some of the malignant tumors. Successful surgery can help increase mesothelioma patients’ quality of life and life expectancy.
However, eligibility for surgery depends on the stage of cancer and patients’ general health. Nevertheless, it is always advised to get a second opinion before getting any surgery done.
Chemotherapy is another effective and commonly used treatment method for mesothelioma. It can be used as a primary treatment method or combined with other methods such as surgery. This method is used to stop the growth of or kill cancer cells. So, this prevents the tumors from spreading. It also alleviates painful symptoms related to tumor growth.
In chemotherapy, drugs can be administered to the patient in two ways. The first method is to administer the chemotherapy drugs intravenously through a needle. In this way, the drugs enter the bloodstream and target cancer cells wherever they are in the body. The second way is to administer the drugs directly into the surgical site during surgery.
This non-invasive procedure targets tumors with the help of strong X-rays. It aims to stop the cancer cells from multiplying by interfering with their DNA. Doctors first determine the tumor’s exact location in this method and then target them with X-rays.
Radiation is used for targeting cancer cells in different situations, such as:
- To kill off leftover cancer cells or tumors after surgery.
- To shrink tumors before surgery.
- To prevent the tumor from spreading to other parts of the body.
- To reduce painful symptoms.
Immunotherapy is used to improve a patient’s immune system. This enables the immune system to fight off the cancer cells themselves. Moreover, this procedure is effective in giving a favorable prognosis as well. However, recent studies show that immunotherapy works best when combined with surgery or chemotherapy.
Exercise and diet
Even though various treatments are available for mesothelioma, patients can also participate in recovery by establishing a healthy lifestyle. This can be done by exercising and maintaining a healthy diet. These two factors play an important role in improving the patients’ general health. Thus, better health will give them a higher chance of fighting cancer and improving their life expectancy.
Additionally, several studies have proved the effectiveness of gentle regular exercise. Benefits of exercise include:
- Reduces fatigue and improves appetite.
- Increases muscular and bone strength.
- Helps relieve stress.
- Improves the overall quality of life.
Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer that occurs primarily due to asbestos exposure. However, it develops decades after the exposure. This characteristic often results in an unfavorable prognosis. Furthermore, symptoms of mesothelioma differ based on the location of the tumor.
Several treatment methods are available that can improve patients’ quality of life and life expectancy. These methods can either be used separately or in combination with other methods. Doctors settle on a procedure after considering factors such as the stage of cancer and patients’ general health. However, patients need to maintain their health with a good diet and exercise.