To date, there is no available mesothelioma cure. Mesothelioma is a cancer that is caused by toxic levels of exposure to asbestos. This disease can remain latent for many years, and by the time it is diagnosed in a victim, it is very difficult to treat. Malignant mesothelioma affects the lining that covers and protects the internal organs. By the time this cancer is discovered, it has usually spread significantly. If diagnosed early, surgery may be an option that can offer an extended period of survival possible, although the disease has a history of frequent reoccurrence.
The fact that most mesothelioma patients are over sixty five years of age works against the surgery option, because we develop an assortment of health problems as we age; some patients aren't strong enough to handle a tumor resection. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are standard treatment options for patients, with or without surgery. Though not a mesothelioma cure, chemotherapy has proven to extend the survival period for diagnosed patients. Unfortunately the extended survival period is measured in months rather than years, according to an extensive study undertaken in 2007.
Survival Period After Mesothelioma Diagnosis
Once mesothelioma cancer is diagnosed the chances of a mesothelioma cure are slight and often the prognosis is not very good. Three out of four mesothelioma patients are over the age of sixty five and in many cases other health problems have masked the development of mesothelioma. By the time the disease is diagnosed the survival period will range from four to eighteen months. The survival period is dictated by the health of the patient, the stage at which the disease is diagnosed and the type of mesothelioma cell involved. Studies in the United States suggest a five year survival rate of ten percent or less. In Japan between five and ten percent of mesothelioma patients live for five years past diagnosis.
Varieties of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a malignant disease that can affect the lining of any internal organ. Most often the pleural lining of the lungs and/or the peritoneal lining of the organs in the abdominal cavity are affected. The pleural lining of the lungs is affected when harmful amounts of asbestos are inhaled. When mesothelioma symptoms do develop they may include difficulty breathing, chest pain, and a chronic cough.
Peritoneal mesothelioma can affect the lining of the organs inside the abdominal cavity. Often the tissues swell and fluid collects in the affected organ's surrounding membrane. This can cause pain or swelling in the abdominal area. While this form of the disease occurs in less than thirty percent of all cases, there have been instances of improved survival periods using an aggressive treatment approach that combines surgical removal of the tumors along with intraperitoneal chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Doctors and researchers are currently searching for more effective mesothelioma treatment options and hope to find a mesothelioma cure. Clinical studies are conducted around the world in an effort to find a mesothelioma cure.
- Second Surgery for Recurrence of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma, Annals of Thoracic Surgery, Borzellino et al, January 2010, http://ats.ctsnetjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/89/1/207
- Pemetrexed with Cisplatin‚Ä¶for Treatment of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma, The Cochrane Library, 2007, http://mrw.interscience.wiley.com/cochrane/clsysrev/articles/CD005574/frame.html
- Detailed Guide: Malignant Mesothelioma, American Cancer Society, http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI_2_4_3X_How_is_malignant_mesothelioma_staged_29.asp?rnav=cri
- Incidence and Survival of Mesothelioma in Osaka, Japan, Japanese Journal of Clinical Oncology, Kanazawa et al, 2006, http://jjco.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/36/4/254
- Treatment of Peritoneal Mesothelioma, Sugarbaker Oncology Associates, http://www.surgicaloncology.com/meso.htm