Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma

The thin layer of tissue that covers the bulk of your internal organs is where malignant mesothelioma, a type of cancer, develops (mesothelium).

An aggressive and fatal form of cancer is mesothelioma. There are mesothelioma treatments available, but for many mesothelioma patients, a cure is not feasible.

Depending on whatever portion of the mesothelium is compromised, doctors classify mesothelioma into various categories. The tissue surrounding the lungs is most frequently affected by mesothelioma (pleura). Pleural mesothelioma is the name for this type. The tissue in the belly (peritoneal mesothelioma), the heart, and the testicles are all affected by other, more uncommon kinds of mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a cancer caused by asbestos. It most commonly occurs in the linings of the lungs or the abdomen. The average life expectancy is 18 – 31 months after diagnosis, but prognosis may improve with treatment. Symptoms can include chest pain, shortness of breath and general fatigue.

 

Symptoms of mesothelioma

Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma vary depending on where the cancer occurs.

Pleural mesothelioma, which affects the tissue that surrounds the lungs, causes signs and symptoms that may include:

  • Chest pain
  • Painful coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unusual lumps of tissue under the skin on your chest
  • Unexplained weight loss

Peritoneal mesothelioma, which occurs in tissue in the abdomen, causes signs and symptoms that may include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Nausea
  • Unexplained weight loss

Since these varieties of mesothelioma are extremely uncommon, it is unclear what the signs and symptoms of other types are.

Chest aches and difficulty breathing are two signs and symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma, which affects the tissue surrounding the heart.

A lump or swelling on a testicle may be the initial sign of mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis, which affects the tissue around the testicles.

Diagnosis of mesothelioma

Your doctor will perform a physical examination to look for lumps or other unusual symptoms if you exhibit signs and symptoms that could point to mesothelioma.

To check for anomalies, your doctor may request imaging tests such as a chest X-ray and a computed tomography (CT) scan of your chest or belly.

You can undertake additional testing in light of the results to ascertain whether mesothelioma or another illness is to blame for your symptoms.

Biopsy

The only way to know if you have mesothelioma is to have a biopsy, a technique to remove a small part of tissue for laboratory analysis. Your doctor chooses the appropriate biopsy procedure for you based on the damaged area of your body.

Options consist of:

Using a needle to puncture the skin: With a tiny needle passed through the skin of your chest or abdomen, the doctor may remove fluid or a piece of tissue.

Obtaining a tissue sample during surgery: During an operation, a fluid or tissue sample may be taken. To view within your chest or belly, the surgeon may create a tiny incision and insert a tube with a video camera. To obtain a tissue sample, specialised tools can be inserted via the tube.

The tissue sample is examined under a microscope to determine the types of cells present and to determine whether the aberrant tissue is mesothelioma. Your treatment strategy is based on the type of mesothelioma you have.

Extent and stages

Which tests are necessary for you will be decided by your doctor. Every test is not necessary for everyone.

Your cancer is given a stage by your doctor based on the results of these tests. Roman numerals from I to IV are used to denote the different phases of pleural mesothelioma. The likelihood of the cancer being localised to the area around the lungs increases with a lower number, and it increases with a higher number if the disease has spread to other parts of the body.

As medical professionals develop cancer diagnosis and therapy, the cancer staging system keeps changing and getting more sophisticated. The appropriate treatments are chosen for you by your doctor based on the stage of your cancer.

Other forms of mesothelioma do not have formal stages.

Treatment of mesothelioma

The course of your mesothelioma treatment will depend on your overall health as well as the stage and location of your malignancy.

Unfortunately, mesothelioma is frequently an aggressive disease, and for the majority of patients, there is no treatment. When surgery cannot be used to remove the malignancy, mesothelioma is typically discovered at an advanced stage. Instead, in order to improve your quality of life, your doctor might try to control your cancer.

Share your doctor’s treatment objectives. Some people will go to any lengths to treat their cancer, even if it means putting up with side effects in exchange for a slim possibility of a recovery. Others want comfortable treatments that allow them to live out their remaining days symptom-free as much as possible.

Surgery

When mesothelioma is discovered early, surgeons strive to remove it. This might even treat cancer in some circumstances.

The majority of the time, the cancer cannot be completely removed. In this case, surgery might be able to lessen the mesothelioma spread-related indications and symptoms.

The following surgical options:

Surgery to reduce fluid retention: Your chest may fill with fluid from pleural mesothelioma, making breathing difficult. To drain the fluid, surgeons place a tube or catheter into your chest. To stop fluid from returning, doctors may also inject medication into your chest (pleurodesis).

Surgery to remove the lungs‘ surrounding tissue: The tissue lining the ribs and lungs may be removed by surgeons (pleurectomy). While not a cure for mesothelioma, this surgery might ease the symptoms.

Lung and surrounding tissue removal surgery: Pleural mesothelioma symptoms and signals may be reduced by removing the afflicted lung and the tissue surrounding it. This method also enables medical professionals to provide higher doses of radiation therapy to the chest as they won’t have to worry about shielding your lungs from harmful radiation.

Peritoneal mesothelioma surgery: Surgery is sometimes used to remove as much of the peritoneal mesothelioma as possible. Before or after surgery, chemotherapy may be administered.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy kills cancer cells by using chemicals. A mesothelioma that cannot be surgically removed may shrink or develop more slowly with systemic chemotherapy, which circulates throughout the body. Additionally, chemotherapy may be administered either immediately following surgery (adjuvant chemotherapy) to lower the risk of cancer recurrence or prior to surgery (neoadjuvant chemotherapy) to facilitate an operation.

In the event of peritoneal mesothelioma, chemotherapy medications may also be heated and injected directly into the abdominal cavity (intraperitoneal chemotherapy).

Radiation therapy focuses high-energy beams from sources such as X-rays and protons to a specific spot or spots on your body. Radiation may be used after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells. It may also help reduce signs and symptoms of advanced cancer in situations where surgery isn’t an option.

Other treatments

In certain situations, other treatments might be used to treat mesothelioma. Other treatments include:

  • Immunotherapy. Immunotherapy uses your immune system to fight cancer. Your body’s disease-fighting immune system may not attack your cancer because the cancer cells produce proteins that blind the immune system cells. Immunotherapy works by interfering with that process. This treatment might be an option if other treatments aren’t working.
  • Targeted therapy. Targeted therapy uses drugs that attack specific vulnerabilities in cancer cells. These drugs aren’t commonly used for treating mesothelioma, but your doctor might recommend targeted therapy based on the results of tumor DNA testing.
  • Comments Closed
  • June 26th, 2022

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