Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, heart, or abdomen. Caused primarily by the inhalation of asbestos fibers, mesothelioma is most commonly diagnosed in older individuals who worked with asbestos in an industrial setting. Prognosis for mesothelioma is poor, but early detection and newer treatment methods have given many patients hope for survival.
To learn more about this deadly disease, browse our site below. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you have treatment options and legal rights.
Prognosis refers to how doctors expect the cancer to progress in mesothelioma patients. It is determined by a number of different factors based on the disease characteristics and the patient’s medical history. The prognosis for mesothelioma is almost always poor, as it is so often diagnosed at a late stage.
Once someone starts experiencing mesothelioma symptoms, a doctor will order tests to learn more. Diagnosis usually starts with taking images (X-ray, MRI, etc.) and may include blood tests. However, the only 100% accurate way to determine if mesothelioma is present is to do a biopsy.
Diagnosis helps doctors ascertain how the disease is likely to progress and decide what types of treatment will be most effective.
The long-term survival of mesothelioma patients is rare. However, new detection methods and emerging treatments are giving people better chances of surviving longer after diagnosis.
Everyone defines survivorship differently. The most important thing for all survivors is making sure they know what it means for themselves. This means accessing resources to help you survive through — and beyond — this terrible disease.
Mesothelioma patients will often need to speak with many different specialists, from oncologists (doctors who specialize in cancer treatment and diagnosis) to thoracic surgeons and others. Many of these doctors practice and conduct research at cancer clinics, some of which are centers that treat a variety of cancers, while others focus specifically on mesothelioma. These clinics also conduct trials to find new ways to diagnose, treat, and care for patients who have mesothelioma.
In most cases, by the time mesothelioma is caught, it has spread to other parts of the body from where it originated, making it hard to remove all the cancerous tissue by surgery. For that reason, standard mesothelioma treatment uses a multimodal approach, combining surgery, chemotherapy, and possibly radiation. Each of these methods has its benefits and drawbacks, but together they can treat the disease with some effectiveness.
In cases where there is little hope for a complete cure, conventional treatments may also be used to help relieve symptoms.
Emerging therapies offer a hope for many patients, especially when conventional treatments may not be possible or effective. These newer treatments are often still undergoing trials, but in some cases, such as immunotherapy and gene therapy, the treatments are advanced enough to have shown promise as effective ways to combat mesothelioma.