One of the most important things to know about mesothelioma treatment is that it’s not as simple as one might think. While there are many different methods and procedures, some have worse side effects than others, meaning you may have to try a few different types before finding the best one for you or your loved one to undergo. If you or someone close to you has been diagnosed with this disease, it’s important to make sure you are informed about the different kinds of treatment and how they work in order to find the best option that will both benefit the patient and their family in the long run.
One of the more common mesothelioma treatment options, radiation therapy involves directing high-energy X-rays to affected areas. Radiation can be used to remove tumors, stop tumor growth and shrink existing tumors. In some cases, radiation may also be used after surgery to treat metastatic cells that may have been left behind. Be sure you’re comfortable with a therapy before moving forward; discuss possible side effects and outcomes with your doctor.
Low Dose Rate Brachytherapy
Also known as LDR, low dose rate brachytherapy delivers radiation to malignant tumors through a series of small, low doses over time. This method is performed inside of an oncology facility and may be prescribed in conjunction with other treatments. With LDR, patients often receive fewer sessions than traditional high dose rate methods. Low dose treatment has been proven effective and can be completed in less time than HD methods.
Whole Lung Irradiation
In 2011, research was published suggesting that patients with mesothelioma who were treated with whole lung irradiation had a much better chance of surviving than those who didn’t. Whole lung irradiation may also be an option for patients with other forms of cancer besides mesothelioma, but those cases are still being studied. As of now, researchers aren’t sure why whole lung irradiation can help cancer patients; it’s likely due to some kind of immunotherapy.
Extrapleural Pneumonectomy (EPP)
While EPP is only one of many mesothelioma treatment options, it’s often considered to be a fast and effective treatment. During an EPP procedure, surgeons remove as much of a patient’s lung cancer tumor as possible, in addition to all or part of the chest wall lining (pleura). The pleura covers almost every surface of our lungs and protects them from trauma, injury, infections and other internal threats.
Fortunately, there are mesothelioma treatment options available, including surgery and chemotherapy. However, not all mesothelioma treatments are created equal. Your doctor will be able to help you determine which methods are best for your body type and medical history. So don’t delay; if you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, talk to your physician about which treatment is right for you today!
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