Mesothelioma cancer is a disease that results from exposure to asbestos related substances. Asbestos usually consists of fibres that can enter the body through the mouth, or the skin, and, subsequently, enter the lungs, or blood stream.
Mesothelioma cancer has become more widely documented in the last 5-10 years, due to the fact that symptoms of asbestos cancer can take between 20 to 40 years to manifest. Mesothelioma cancer is hard to diagnose, as the symptoms do not tend to manifest themselves until the later stages of the disease. Symptoms of mesothelioma lung cancer include shortness of breath, chest pain, fever and other secondary illnesses such as pneumonia.
Asbestos cancer most often develops in men between the ages of 50 to 70 years who were exposed to high levels of asbestos in the workplace. Asbestos was mainly used in manufacturing industries such as automotive and ship building as well as in the construction industry. The use of asbestos was only recently banned in the 1990’s.
Mesthelioma lung cancer has been found to be the most common form of mesothelioma cancer and it develops in the lining of the lung (pleural). Mesothelioma cancer can also develop in the abdominal area (peritoneal) and around the heart (pericardial). There is a greater chance of malignancy in abdominal asbestos cancer. For a more detailed explanation of mesothelioma cancer, visit [http://www.lung-canceradvice.com]
Mesothelioma lung cancer can be detected through a CT scan which enables it to be sometimes diagnosed earlier than the other two types of mesothelioma cancer. The type of mesothelioma cancer treatment will depend on the stage at which the cancer was diagnosed, the age of the patient as well as personal preferences. The disease can be divided into four separate stages. The stage in the disease process that is reached will determine the method of mesothelioma cancer treatment. At the first stage when the tumour is confined to the lining of the lungs, surgeons may try to remove the entire tumour surgically. Once the tumour has invaded the surrounding body tissues in the later stages, it is not curable.
Conventionally, the more advanced stages of mesothelioma cancer are treated with either radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Radiation therapy utilizes high-energy x-rays to destroy cancerous cells and shrink tumours Chemotherapy, on the other hand, uses drugs to destroy cancer cells. The aim of these mesothelioma cancer treatments is to prolong the patient’s life as the disease cannot be cured in the more advanced stages.
In addition to these conventional mesothelioma cancer treatments, there are also various experimental treatments currently under investigation which offer new hope.
Immunotherapy: This form of biological therapy for mesothelioma cancer treatment uses the patient’s own immune system to attack the cancerous cells. Clinical studies have shown that the immune system is able to distinguish healthy cells from cancer cells, and can therefore be used to destroy those cancerous cells.
Gene Therapy: This form of mesothelioma cancer treatment is very much still in the developmental stages. The process involves injecting a specific gene straight into the tumour. This gene renders the cancer cells sensitive to the antiviral drug glanciclovir which under normal circumstances is not effective against these cells. The glanciclovir is then able to destroy all the cancer cells without harming the healthy tissue cells.
Drug Therapy: The drug Alimta is the only chemotherapy drug to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)for the treatment of patients with malignant mesothelioma lung cancer . This new and exciting drug has been demonstrated in clinical trials to reduce symptoms and increase the life expectancy of patients.
Photodynamic Therapy: Photodynamic therapy involves the use of light to destroy cancer cells. The patient first is first administered a photosensitizing drug that only collects in cancerous cells. Fibre-optic cables are then inserted in the body in order to focus light of a certain frequency on the tumour. The light stimulates the photosensitizing drug to produce toxic oxygen molecules that destroy the cancerous cells.
These experimental mesothelioma cancer treatments, although still in the developmental stages, offer cancer victims the prospect of a better and longer life. With the likelihood of an increase in the number of people diagnosed with asbestos cancer, further research into other forms of mesothelioma cancer treatment is vital.