Mesothelioma

What is Mesothelioma? It’s a deadly cancer that forms in the protective lining of the lungs, abdomen and or the cavity around the heat. People often don’t realize they have mesothelioma until they visit their doctor because they mistaken their symptoms to common ailments.

Causes

Mesothelioma is due to exposure to asbestos often symptoms don’t appear for 30 years.TreatmentTreatment often consists of surgery, radiation and or chemotherapy. Two kinds of treatment are curative and palliative. Curative surgery is done to cure pleural mesothelioma. Palliative procedures are done lessen the intensity of symptoms.Two kinds of curative surgeries are extrapleural pneumonectomy and pneumonectomy. That remove the tumor . pleurocentesis and pleurodesis are treatments that reduce the symptoms severity.There are four stages that identify how much your cancer has progressed. This is an important part of your treatment.

Mesothelioma Treatment

Staging will determine the type of treatment you will receive Different treatments are administered depending on the stage of the disease. Staging determines the stage of your cancer. It gauges if the cancer has spread and if so how far.Stage I the cancer is localized and located in the chest wall lining, lung lining, diaphragm lining or sac lining of your heat.Stage II cancer is now in the lymph nodesStage III cancer spread to any of these locations: the heart, chest wall mediastinum, peritoneum and beyond the diaphragm including the lymph nodes.Stage IV distant tissues and organs are cancerousSurgeriesTwo curative surgeries include:Pneumonectomy

Patients who have cancer in only one lung are eligible for this particular surgery. This involves a complicated surgery were the cancerous lung is removed which may make it very challenging for the patient to breath since it is diminishing the breathing capacity. Your doctor must be totally certain that you will be able to breathe normally after the surgery.

Extrapleural Pneumonectomy

Since this surgery is quite risky it is done only in rare circumstances. It consists of removing the whole lung and surrounding areas including the membrane covering the heart (the pericardium), and the pleura (membrane lining the chest cavity) on the same side of the chest as the cancerous lung and part of the diaphragm. An extrapleural pneumonectomy which is one of your top choices for treatment has the highest survival rates.Here’s the process:First general anesthesia is administered.Then the surgeon makes a large incision in the chest and may remove the sixth rib to make more room.Next the surgeon collapses the cancerous lung and major blood vessels are tied off.The main bronchial tube is clamped and later stapled.Then the surgeon cuts away the cancerous lung.The chest walls and parts of the pericardium are replaced with synthetic material.Suturees close up the chest incision and the chest cavity is inserted with a temporary drain.Often a two week stay in the hospital is required for recovery and an epidural anesthetic is administered for the pain.Two Kinds of Palliative TreatmentsPleurodesis

If there is a build up of fluid in the chest (pleural effusion) a pleurodesis may be performed. Your doctor will administer a general or local anesthetic and next a talc with thorascope or large needle into the pleural area to induce inflammation to prevent the fluid buildup for a few years. Pleural membranes become irritated and inflamed with the talc which bonds them together eliminating the space between the pleural membranes to prevent the accumulation of more fluids.Here’s the Pleurodesis ProcedureFirst the tip of the needle is inserted into the pleural space between the membranes and attached to a drainage tube.Drainage is done slowly to prevent a large drop in blood pressure.

Then the fluid is removed and a needle administers the talc into the pleural space.Next the drain is clamped for an hour and it may be attached to a suctioning device to ensure that the pleura layers bond properly.

Pleurocentesis/Thoracentesis

This particular treatment involves withdrawing fluid from the pleural space with a long slender needle to reduce the patients pain. This often takes 30 minutes with some pressure and minimal pain.

Here’s the Process

The patient sits leaning on a table while the area between the ribs is cleaned and numbed. Next a thin needle is inserted to remove fluid.Once an adequate amount of fluid withdrawn the needle is removed and bandaged.Then you are sent home to recover for at least 24 hrs.

Radiation

Although radiation is one of the original treatments for cancer it has become more advanced over the years. Often there are two choices for radiation treatment:External Beam RadiationUnfortunately this type of radiation also destroys healthy cells in the body. External radiation is emitted to the tumor which destroys the cancer cells. This is a painless outpatient treatment.

Brachytherapy

This particular radiation consists of temporarily or permanently implanting a seed of radiation in the patients body on or near the tumor to inilate the cancer cells and reduce the damage to the healthy cells in the body. There are temporary seeds which are removed after a while and permanent procedures where the seeds remain in place but stop emitting radiation over time.

Chemotherapy

As the name implies, chemotherapy is “chemical therapy” created in the 1940’s. Systemic chemotherapy is administered intravenously or with pills which affects cancer cells and healthy cells since it travels directly through the bloodstream. This causes intense side effects on the rest of your body. Intrapleural chemotherapy consists of an injection of chemicals directly into the pleura, so that healthy cells are more protected.

Alternative therapies are also available which ease the symptoms of mesothelioma.

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