Mesothelioma Treatment, Due to the fact that the symptoms of mesothelioma are oftentimes attributed to other conditions, diagnosis is very difficult. When various medications and other treatments are prescribed to a patient and symptoms do not go away, it is common for a doctor to ask for an x-ray or CT scan so that they can get a better look at the internal organs. This can give a doctor a better idea as to what is causing the symptoms.
A simple x-ray gives a doctor a picture of the lungs and can show whether there is fluid in the lungs or a tumor growing in the pleural area. A CT scan, or computed tomography scan, is a more sophisticated way to get a detailed image of the organs in question. A machine circles the body and takes multiple x-rays, displaying the area under scrutiny from many different angles. This allows the doctor to make a better judgment as to what is affecting the organs. An MRI, or magnetic resonance image, shows an even further detailed image of the area surrounding the heart or lungs. This method utilizes a magnetic field and radio waves to take images of the lungs and has the ability to detect tumors that other methods cannot. All three of these imaging techniques are performed in a hospital or health clinic and are usually covered under a patient’s health insurance.
Once a tumor or other issue is discovered, the doctor must then take the next step, which usually involves a biopsy. A biopsy is a procedure that involves taking a sample of the suspected area and testing it for cancerous cells. This procedure is also conducted in a hospital and entails one of a few different methods. In the case of peritoneal and pleural tumors, a long needle is inserted which extracts a small amount of mesothelial fluid for analysis. Other methods, such as the bronchoscopy, involve lighting up the trachea and bronchi to check for the presence of any unknown growths. This also allows a small sample of the area to be taken for testing.
Once a tumor is diagnosed as mesothelioma, it is time to decide what treatment options are most appropriate for a patient. Both standard and alternative treatments are used to prolong life and alleviate pain. The size and stage of the tumor are factors that affect what type of treatment would be the best choice.
Surgery is one option. If the cancer is found early, and the tumor has not grown to be too large, the tumor can be surgically removed to possibly cure the cancer. However, this is very rare. Since the diagnosis is very difficult, it is unlikely that the cancer will be found in time to operate. Another option is to use chemotherapy. This remedy involves the administration of drugs such as Alimta and Cisplatin, which are intended to kill cancerous cells. Unfortunately, chemotherapy doesn’t just kill cancer cells, but healthy ones as well. As a result, a patient can become very fatigued and suffer from hair loss and extreme nausea. Radiation therapy is another form of treatment where high energy rays from a machine are directed towards the affected area to shrink the tumor. This is used as a palliative treatment for patients because it is easier to handle than chemotherapy. To relieve pain and pressure, many times mesothelial fluid is removed through a long needle by process of thoracentesis and paracentesis in the chest and abdomen respectively.
It is important to realize that in almost all instances, mesothelioma is terminal. Any and all treatments are used to limit the amount of pain that a victim must endure. Alternative treatments such as acupuncture, massage, and meditation are techniques that may help the patient feel more comfortable.