Different Treatment Options for Mesothelioma

Different Treatment Options for Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a rare cancer with limited treatment options. It is usually diagnosed at a late stage, making the cancer hard to treat.  Once people inhale asbestos fibers, the fibers cannot be broken down or removed by the body. The fibers then cause DNA changes in the body, turning them into cancer cells. The cancer cells then grow and spread throughout the body aggressively. People exposed to asbestos should speak with a doctor about regular screening so mesothelioma and other cancers caused by asbestos can be caught early.

Patients with mesothelioma have access to many different treatments. The most common form of treatment is surgery used in combination with chemotherapy and radiation. Patients can either receive an extrapleural pneumonectomy where one of the lungs is removed or pleurectomy and decortication, where the lining of the lungs is removed (pleurectomy) and any tumors on the lungs are removed as well (decortication). This is the best option if people are in good enough health and there is limited cancer spread. Chemotherapy is useful because it can kill cancer cells and shrink tumors, but it can have harmful side effects on the body. Radiation uses high energy beams to kill cancer cells and slow tumor growth. It can also help reduce pain.

Other more innovative treatments have been created for the treatment of mesothelioma. Opdivo and Yervoy, two immunotherapy drugs, were the first drug treatment to be approved by the FDA for treating mesothelioma in 16 years. Both drugs are immune checkpoint inhibitors, which block certain proteins on cancer cells, which allows T-cells, a natural part of the immune system, to identify and kill the cancer cells. Opdivo blocks PD-1 on T cells and PD-L1 on cancer cells, allowing T-cells to attack the cancer cells. Yervoy works in the same way but blocks the CTLA-4 protein on T-cells, preventing them from binding with the protein B7 on cancer cells. This allows the T-cells to attack and kill the cancer cells.

Another innovative treatment utilizes electric fields to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Pads that emit a frequency of 100 to 300 kilohertz are adhered to the body. The electrical fields disrupt the proper functioning of proteins in cancer cells, preventing them from spreading and multiplying. This is paired with pemetrexed and either cisplatin or carboplatin chemotherapy. Treatments like this are available because of innovations in the medical industry and clinical trials that are performed to test treatments for safety and efficacy. There is not a cure for mesothelioma, but clinical trials and new discoveries about the cancer could help improve the chance for a cure one day.

Were you exposed to asbestos and now have lung cancer, mesothelioma, or another cancer? Contact us today to see if you could be entitled to compensation. Call 412-471-3980 or fill out our contact form and a member of our team will get back to you as soon as possible.

“Malignant Mesothelioma Treatment (Adult) (PDQ®)–Patient Version” National Cancer Institute [Link]

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