The first step in the diagnosis of Mesothelioma is performing a MRI, CT scan or x-ray to get a clear picture of the chest and abdominal cavities. If the peritoneum (abdominal cavity) is filled with fluid, a "fine-needle aspiration" is done to collect a sample of the fluid with a syringe. The fluid helps to confirm the disease as Mesothelioma. The procedure also enables the doctor to remove fluid filled in the peritoneum and ease the pain.
Mesothelioma Confirmation and Staging
Once Mesothelioma is confirmed, the next level involves finding out where the tumor may have spread. This is done by MRI or CT scan and is termed 'staging'. It is divided into five stages of development. In the advanced stages of Mesothelioma, removal of the tumor is not a viable option as it grows in the membranes, engulfs the cavity and then spreads to adjacent organs.
When the disease is in advanced stages, treatments like chemotherapy, radiation or surgery is ineffective if administered alone. Collective approaches that includes two or three therapies together, like using chemotherapy before surgery, has shown tremendous benefit to the
patients. New medicines have also been introduced which directly target the genetic material.
The main cause of the Mesothelioma pain is due to tumor size. As the tumor presses against the nerves and other structures and organs around the area, it results in severe pain. Also Mesothelioma pain can arise due to treatments like surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy and it can affect the patient psychologically.
Mesothelioma Treatment Options
Various Mesothelioma treatment options are used to treat this disease and help patients manage the pain. However, in most cases, death from the disease is inevitable. With respect to traditional Mesothelioma treatment options, locating the position of the cancer, the stage of the disease and age and general health of the patient is considered.
Common treatments like radiation, chemotherapy as well as surgery are conducted on the patient. It is important for the Mesothelioma patient to be informed of all available Mesothelioma treatment options so they can decide on the option they are most comfortable with as well as which has highest success rate.
Of late, radical Mesothelioma treatment options are being considered and research has led to more and more options emerging. Based on the nature and severity of the disease, radical Mesothelioma treatments are being used in combination with traditional Mesothelioma treatments. Various combinations of radical treatment like gene therapy, immune augmentative therapy, photodynamic therapy, interferon and interleukin therapy, radiofrequency ablation and angiogenesis therapies are used. In some cases aggressive treatment is not possible due to age and health conditions. Under such circumstances, palliative treatment is provided which treats the symptoms and not the disease.