Saturday, January 15, 2011

Mesothelioma Cancer Treatment: Understand Your Options

The type of mesothelioma cancer treatment used for a patient depends on many different factors including the location of the tumor, the stage of the disease, whether the cancer has spread or not, and the health and age of the patient.
Mesothelioma patients are rarely given a good prognosis. Most are given a life expectancy of eight to twelve months. A few mesothelioma patients have achieved a five-year survival rate. An early diagnosis leads to the best outcome.

Mesothelioma cancer treatment most often falls into one of the following categories:
• Surgery
• Chemotherapy
• Radiation Therapy
The most effective treatment of mesothelioma is often a combination of these methods.
Surgical Mesothelioma Treatments may be used just to alleviate symptoms or to attempt a cure of the tumor. Methods used to treat symptoms include draining fluid from the chest and creating an adhesion between the pleural layers to prevent recurrence of the fluid accumulation.
Another method of draining chest fluid involves placing a catheter that runs under the skin from the chest cavity to the abdomen. Concerns include the possibility of the catheter becoming obstructed and also the chance that tumor cells will be transferred from the chest to the abdomen. Therefore, this procedure is not as common as some others.

Pleurectomy is a surgical method that removes the tumor-ridden pleural lining in an attempt at a cure or just to alleviate symptoms from fluid accumulation. Procedures that are performed with the hope of curing the patient of their tumor attempt to remove all the visible tumor and follow-up with another therapy, such as chemotherapy, to eliminate microscopic disease left behind. The most common of these procedures is Pleurectomy. Usually, only patients in an early stage of disease receive this procedure. If it is discovered, during the procedure, that all the tumor cannot be removed unless the entire lung is also removed, a pneumonectomy (removal of the lung) can be performed during the pleurectomy procedure.

A much more extensive surgical procedure called Extrapleural Pneumonectomy involves removing part of the lining of the heart, part of the diaphragm, part of the lung lining, and the diseased lung. This is generally followed with chemotherapy and/or radiation since surgery alone has rarely been very successful.
There are also surgical procedures for Malignant Peritoneal Mesothelioma. Cytoreductive Surgery is the name given to the surgical method that attempts to remove the tumor in the abdominal cavity that is visible to the naked eye. It is generally followed by a procedure called IPHC (chemotherapy that is given directly into the abdominal cavity) to treat any microscopic tumor cells left behind.

Chemotherapy involves using special medications, chemical substances, to treat cancer. Chemotherapy works by attacking cancer cells to prevent them from replicating. The most common way to administer chemotherapy is intravenously, or through a vein. Chemotherapy placed directly into the abdominal cavity is also an option for some cases of peritoneal mesothelioma. The medication is infused through a catheter that is inserted through the wall of the abdomen.

The role of chemotherapy in treatment for mesothelioma is not to provide a cure. Instead, it can help slow the growth of the cancer, reduce the size of tumors prior to surgery, destroy microscopic cancer cells after surgery has removed the visible tumor, or help with symptoms.
Chemotherapy can have side effects that are mild or side effects that are more severe and even debilitating. The dose may need to be adjusted or the medication even discontinued. Blood tests will be required from time to time to monitor the effects of the chemotherapy drugs, particularly the effect on your white cell count. A decrease in your white cell count is one of the possible side effects of chemotherapy. If this occurs, you can be more susceptible to infection. It is a good idea to stay away from others who have a cold or other contagious infection while you are on chemotherapy.

It is very important that you eat a healthy diet while you are receiving chemotherapy and that you stay well hydrated. Also, be sure and report any side effects to your doctor immediately. Be sure and ask your doctor before taking any other medications, even over the counter drugs such as Tylenol, Advil, or aspirin.

Mesothelioma Cancer Treatment: Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy utilizes beams of radiation to treat cancer. Radiation is often part of a combination of therapies used to treat mesothelioma. It may be used with chemotherapy or surgery or both. It may also be used alone to help alleviate symptoms. Used in this manner, radiation can help with pain or difficulty breathing. It also can be beneficial in controlling the spread of tumor cells when used following surgery.

Mesothelioma lawsuit - Know your legal options

Filing a mesothelioma lawsuit is a major step towards getting compensation for your asbestos exposure that has caused your illness. It is worth looking at the process, so that you know what to expect. This guide gives information about the eligibility to sue a company or an individual as well as about the legal process and the possible results.

Individuals who have been diagnosed with this type of cancer have the right to file a claim against the company or people responsible for their exposure to asbestos, which is the main cause of the condition. Relatives of individuals who have died from this condition can also have a lawyer file a mesothelioma lawsuit on their behalf.

It is particularly important to note that even though this type of cancer most often affects the lining tissue of the lungs, it is not lung cancer. That is why individuals, who have been exposed to asbestos and have lung cancer, cannot file a mesothelioma claim. In general, since lung cancer can be caused by other factors, apart from asbestos exposure, lung cancer lawsuits against companies working with or making asbestos are much less likely to result in compensation.
In most states, there is a time limit for filing a mesothelioma lawsuit. Usually, this limit is one to two years, upon diagnosis. This is important to keep in mind since before a lawsuit is filed the mesothelioma lawyer needs to investigate your case. The investigation can take months and it may not show that you have legal eligibility to sue someone for compensation. For this reason, it is important to seek advice from an attorney as soon as you or a relative of yours has been diagnosed with the condition.

The legal systems in the different states and cities work differently, especially in terms of speed. That is why it may take quite a lot of time before the lawsuit that has been filed on your behalf to go to trial. During this time, your attorney will prepare for the case. There will be meetings between the legal representatives of both parties. This makes it possible for a compensation agreement to be reached before the case goes to court. Such cases are not rare, but this is not standard practice.

It is perfectly normal for you to be concerned about the cost of the mesothelioma lawsuit. The fees of attorneys are usually determined on case to case basis. Still, it should be pointed out that most mesothelioma lawyers charge fees only if they win the case. This means that you do not have to pay for the investigation as well as for the work on the lawsuit, unless you win.
Most sufferers and their families are hopeful about the outcome of the mesothelioma lawsuit and this is how it should be. Still, you should take into account the fact that it is possible to lose. Furthermore, even if you win, the defendant may appeal the court's ruling. It is also possible for you to get compensation that is much smaller than you have expected. In general, you should be prepared for every possible outcome.

What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer found in the mesothelium, a covering that protects most of the body's internal organs. The mesothelium has two layers: one acts as skin to a certain organ and the other is like a sac that surrounds it. These layers produce lubrication so that organs can glide easily against each other. Example: the heart beats while the lungs expand and contract. Mesothelium is called 'pericardium' when covering the heart, 'pleura' when surrounding the lungs, and 'peritoneum' when lining the different organs in the abdomen.
What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a malignant disease where cells of mesothelium act abnormal and divide uncontrollably. Most cases begin in the pleura and peritoneum. Pleural and Peritoneal Mesothelioma 
are common forms of this rare cancer. Although still considered 
   uncommon, the disease often occurs to individuals who have 
been exposed to asbestos at work. At least about 70 to 80 percent of cases are caused by asbestos exposure. However, some cases have no known causes.

Commercial use of asbestos had begun in the late 1800s and increased during World War II. Millions of American workers were exposed to asbestos dust. People who worked in asbestos mines and mills, factories that produce asbestos products, and the heating and construction industries have greater risk to develop the cancer. Families who lived with asbestos workers are also at risk. 

Common symptoms of the disease, which usually appear 30 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos, include: shortness of breath, pain in the chest, weight loss, abdominal pain, swelling of the abdomen, bowel obstruction, abnormal blood clotting, anemia, fever, trouble in swallowing, pain, and swelling of neck and face.

Diagnosing can be difficult because most symptoms resemble other conditions. Medical tests like x-rays, CT scan, MRI, and biopsy are performed on the patient so the disease can be confirmed. After diagnosing, the doctor will then determine how far the cancer has spread. Unfortunately, the disease is not curable. Several treatment options are available: chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery.