One of the most fatal diseases nowadays is cancer. Anyone can have cancer. Men and women, young and old, all can die of cancer. A form of cancer that is rare and affects the mesothelium, specifically the Pleura (membrane that surrounds the lungs) and the Peritoneum (membrane surrounding the abdomen is called mesothelioma. The inhalation or exposure to asbestos causes both Pleural Mesothelioma and Peritoneum Mesothelioma. Asbestos is an incombustible fibrous mineral of impure magnesium silicate used in various industrial products. About 30 to 50 per cent of the total Mesothelioma cancer patients have acquired the disease even though they had not been exposed to asbestos. As to provide the public clear and exact information with regard to its cause, nature and cure, cancer specialists continue to study this rare kind of cancer.
Mesothelioma has different stages just like many other forms of cancer. At the earliest stage, only one layer of pleura is affected, making it still curable. The number one option for patients with stage I Mesothelioma is surgery. The part of the lining of the lungs or chest (in case of Pleural Mesothelioma) and the lining of the abdomen (in case of Peritoneal Mesothelioma) are removed by the doctor. Although some lymph nodes may have already been infected by the malignant Mesothelioma cancer cells, surgery can still be executed in Stage II Mesothelioma. In several cases, the Mesothelioma patient has to sacrifice one of his lungs and the diaphragm may also be removed.
Radiotherapy and chemotherapy are systematic treatments that usually come with surgery. Mesothelioma cancer cells are killed through radiotherapy. Nevertheless, only the area treated cells die. Radiotherapy or radiation therapy use high energy rays that might come from thin plastic tubes or external machine positioned into the tissues where Mesothelioma cancer-stricken cells are found. Radiation-emitting materials that kill the malignant cells are inside the plastic tube. External radiation therapy uses an external machine. During radiotherapy, a radioactive substance such as radiolabeled monoclonal antibody is circulated around the body.
The use of anti-cancer drugs to kill the malignant cells is known as chemotherapy. The anti-cancer drugs are usually administered to the patient through intravenous injection (within the vein) in Mesothelioma treatment. The possibility of treating Mesothelioma through intracavitary chemotherapy (within the chest or abdomen) is still being studied by oncologists. A kind of cancer therapy that combines the use of drug (photosensitizer) with a specific kind of light which is called Photodynamic therapy also undergone by some Mesothelioma patients. When exposed to the light, the photosensitizing agent produces oxygen that destroys nearby malignant cancer cells. Into the bloodstream, the drug is injected and is absorbed by the cells.
A physician drains the fluid by using a needle to relieve the symptoms of Mesothelioma such as the pain in the chest or abdomen due to the buildup of fluid. Thoracentesis is the procedure of removal of fluid in the chest and paracentesis is removal of the fluid in the abdomen. Drugs are given through a tube in the affected organ to prevent further accumulation of the lubricating fluid in the membranes of the chest or abdomen.
Chance of recovery and survival still depends on the size or extent of the cancer even though the said treatments to Mesothelioma have been proven effective. When Mesothelioma is still in its early stages, the chances are higher. Up to the second stage of the Mesothelioma cancer wherein only one part or smaller portions of the membranes are affected, surgery is advisable. Patients with stage IV Mesothelioma (diffuse Mesothelioma) has only about 4-24 months to live. Patient’s general health condition and age are also crucial to his recovery. Because their tissues, organs and other body parts are more delicate, older patients do not respond well to certain cancer treatments such as surgery.