Mesothelioma is a malignant type of cancer that is caused by being exposed to asbestos. The cancerous cells are developed in a protective lining that covers internal organs in the body called mesothelium. The most common site of mesothelioma is in the outer lining of the chest wall and lungs called the pleura. It can also occur in the lining of abdominal, peritoneum cavity, or the sac that is around the heart, pericardium.
It is found that most people that develop mesothelioma have been exposed to asbestos particles at some time in their life.
Mesothelioma is an aggressive type of cancer and Doctors want to treat it as soon as possible and with aggressive treatment. One of the treatments includes Chemotherapy and its strong drugs that can destroy the cancer cells.
Chemotherapy is an option for those patients that are not able to go through a surgical procedure. The Doctor determines if the patient is a surgical candidate or not. Chemotherapy has been used since around the 1940’s.
Using Chemotherapy for treatment of mesothelioma can be taken in pill form, intravenously, or if the cancer is in the pleural; it is injected directly into the lungs.
Chemotherapy treats the disease by using chemicals that kill the bad cancerous cells and also damages the good cells around the cancer area. There are a few types of chemotherapy treatments for mesothelioma besides the curative intent.
– Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy
– Adjuvant chemotherapy- which means chemotherapy is used after a surgical technique and if the doctor feels there is a risk for recurrence of the cancer.
– Combined modality chemotherapy- this means chemotherapy is used in combination with radiation therapy or surgery.
– Neoadjuvant chemotherapy- refers to being done prior to surgery to reduce the size of the tumor mass.
– Palliative chemotherapy- is used as a treatment to the symptoms of mesothelioma
There are side effects that come from chemotherapy treatment. Most Doctors tell the patients about these side effects that can come from this treatment. Most of the side effects will go away when the treatment has ended. These include:
– Weakening of the immune system
– Hair loss
– Nausea and vomiting
– Decrease in number of red blood cells
– Higher risk of cardiovascular disease
The results of treating Mesothelioma with Chemotherapy can be good to stop the growth of the cancer and help shrink it, but unfortunately there is no cure for mesothelioma.