You’ve just been diagnosed with mesothelioma; now what?
About 3,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year. Because it is a relatively rare disease, sufficient research does not exist on which type of treatment gleans the best results in each stage of the disease.
The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance at Mesothelioma.com provides the following information on conventional methods for malignant mesothelioma.
- Surgery. Mesothelioma surgery is done for palliative or curative reasons. When the cancer has spread beyond the mesothelium and cannot be completely removed, palliative surgery can be performed to relieve pain and discomfort. If the tumor is localized and the patient is in good overall health, curative surgery can be done to remove the tumor. Because microscopic tumor cells may have spread undetected to the diaphragm, lymph nodes, or chest wall, the value of surgery is debatable.
- Radiation. External beam radiation therapy is delivered externally; brachytherapy entails placing radioactive material into the chest or abdomen at the site of the cancer.
- Chemotherapy. Cancer drugs can be administered in the form of pills or injections. Chemotherapy may be the primary treatment or in addition to surgery.
- Physical Therapy. The side effects of chemotherapy or radiation therapy can be alleviated through physical therapy.
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