Mesothelioma Treatment: A Guide for Patients and Their Caregivers

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Mesothelioma is cancer caused by inhaling asbestos fibers, a silicate material. Asbestos is mainly used for construction purposes, and patients suffering from mesothelioma are primarily associated with the construction sector. It is crucial to know mesothelioma symptoms to make a correct diagnosis on time. Chest pain and shortness of breathing are some of the common mesothelioma symptoms. Twelve months is the maximum life expectancy period after diagnosis. But treatment starting at the right time can improve the prognosis, including chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. You should thoroughly understand different treatment methods if someone in your family is fighting with mesothelioma. 

There are different types of mesothelioma, so you have to seek treatment accordingly. The risks and benefits of each treatment depend on the cancer stage and type. For example, surgery and chemotherapy are the standard treatment methods if a patient is diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma that damages the outer lining of the lungs. So, the doctors mainly focus on removing the pleural tumors to improve the life expectancy of patients. Let’s find more about mesothelioma treatment. 

Diagnosis of Mesothelioma

It is essential to know the proper diagnostic process to confirm mesothelioma. So, getting a mesothelioma diagnosis done is crucial for the patient’s condition before looking for different treatment options. The earlier it is diagnosed, the better survival chances a patient will have. 

The mesothelioma diagnosis procedure includes imaging scans, biopsies, blood tests, and staging. Each diagnosis step takes place one by one. Patients undergo a basic X-ray to check for something unusual in imaging scans. Doctors can suggest an MRI or CT scan if any fluid around the lung is seen. 

When cancer is suspected, the doctors will take the tissue sample. This process is called a biopsy, ensuring that malignant mesothelioma cells are present. Blood tests are also the part of diagnosis that allows doctors to determine the stage of cancer and condition of the patient. One of the essential parts of the diagnosis process is staging that will enable doctors to evaluate the stage of cancer. It allows them to begin the treatment accordingly. 

Treatment of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma affects the outer lining of the lungs, so there are different treatment methods to improve the survival chances of the patient. The first treatment is surgery, in which doctors remove the affected areas and lungs to prevent the growth of mesothelioma. It can spread across the chest, diaphragm, heart linings, and lymph nodes. Another surgery method is pleurectomy decortication that only removes the affected areas, excluding the lungs. It is known as less aggressive surgery. 

Chemotherapy is another common treatment for cancer. Doctors also use the combination of different drugs with chemotherapy to increase the effectiveness of the treatment. 

Radiation is one of the most effective treatment methods for mesothelioma. For mesothelioma patients, EBRT is the most prevalent radiation therapy. The cancer cells are destroyed using X-ray photons. Doctors can use this therapy during or after the surgery. 

Emerging Treatments 

Some of the common emerging treatments for mesothelioma include cryotherapy, gene therapy, photodynamic therapy, and virotherapy. Doctors are constantly researching to find out different mesothelioma treatment methods to improve the survival chances of patients. Cryotherapy, gene therapy, photodynamic therapy, and virotherapy are emerging treatments. 

Cryotherapy is a surgical process that removes cancer cells by freezing them. Doctors use this therapy to shrink cancer cells before starting an actual surgery. Gene therapy is used to modify viruses and cells to reduce cancer. It repairs the affected p53 gene that kills cancer in the body. Other procedures are still in the research phase, but it is expected that these methods will be useful soon.

Selfcare and Diet

A healthy mind and nutrition are essential for the recovery of mesothelioma patients. You should help your loved ones suffering from mesothelioma adopt a healthy lifestyle. It helps to minimize the side effects and prevent the growth of tumors in the patient’s body. 

It starts with a proper diet plan as per a doctor’s recommendation. As a caregiver, you must know the daily diet schedule for the patient. It plays a crucial role in recovery, so doctors suggest maintaining the right balance in the diet. A patient needs to maintain the correct weight before the surgery to avoid catching any infection. 

Food rich in calories and protein should be your priority. It allows the patient’s body to resist the heavy medicine dosage and surgeries. Protein also helps the body to heal rapidly after the surgery. By increasing the consumption of calories, the patient can regain energy, and it also helps fix cells and tissues. 

On the other hand, it is not easy for patients to eat food. Surgeries often give weakness to the patients, so you have to use different techniques to consume food. 

Physical exercise is another integral part of self-care that speeds up recovery. Oncologists also suggest that different fitness-related exercises can be helpful to get rid of fatigue. It impacts the energy and mood of the patient positively, so you should help your loved ones in doing such exercises. Yoga, cycling, walking, and stair climb are basic and safe exercises for mesothelioma patients. 

Dealing with Mental Health 

Another critical aspect of mesothelioma patients’ health is their mental condition. It can be an immense burden on the patient’s mind due to health concerns. Anxiety and depression are common mental health issues that mesothelioma patients go through. Being a caregiver, you should help patients to fight negative thoughts. You have to focus on getting help from mesothelioma support groups to ensure that the patient’s mental health remains stable. 

Conclusion 

As a caregiver, everyone needs to have complete awareness about the different mesothelioma treatment methods. From surgeries to other therapies, you should know the best possible option for the patient. Diagnosis is the most vital part of the treatment process because it increases survival chances. If you notice any mesothelioma signs, you must consult the doctor immediately. It will help you begin the treatment on time and prevent the growth of tumor cells. The mental and physical health of the patient is also crucial, so you should also pay attention to this to ensure the recovery process goes smoothly.