Mesothelioma Treatment: Chemotherapy

Mesothelioma is a cancerous disease that affects the serous linings of various internal organs in the human body. Among them, the lungs, heart and the stomach are the mostly affected.

It is estimated that each year, 2,000 new cases of Mesothelioma are reported. The patients suffering from this cancerous disease have had prior exposure to asbestos, which is considered to be the only known cause of Mesothelioma. Mesotheliomic patients are often told of the short survival duration of 6 - 12 months. But doctors specialized in treating malignant Mesothelioma at leading cancer centers expect better survival rates. Though Mesothelioma causes immense pain and suffering to the victim along with short life expectancy, certain treatments have resulted in the successful reduction and removal of the cancerous tumors of Mesothelioma.

Treatment of Mesothelioma depends on many factors, including the stage of the cancer, the circulation of the malignant cells, pathology reports determining the nature of the cancer cells and patient's age and health. Following is a detail description of the options for Mesothelioma Treatment.

CHEMOTHERAPY: Chemotherapy is a "systematic treatment" of Mesothelioma that uses drugs, chemicals and medicines in an efficient manner to kill cancer cells. It is given to patients in either pills form or is injected directly into the body. In some cases, the medicines are directly inserted into the chest, known as intrapleural chemotherapy, or into the abdomen, known as intraperitoneal chemotherapy, to destroy the growth of cancerous cells. It is also given to patients before and after a surgery to limit the growth of Mesothelioma cancer.

The widely used pemetrexed, Alimta ®, is given in combination of Cisplatin (a standard platinum compound) to treat pleural Mesothelioma. The drug was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in February, 2004. The working of this drug is simple: it enters the blood stream of a patient and kills the cancer cells throughout the body, while stopping the malignant cell growth. The drug has some side-effects for which vitamin B 12 and folic acid is given to the patients undergoing this treatment.

Reference:Laura Simmon


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