Mesothelioma Prognosis - Why Do Some Patients Survive Longer?

There have been some few patients who have survived far beyond the usual one year prognosis for most mesothelioma victims and a handful that have even been cured, with no trace of the aggressive cancer several years after treatment (though recurrence is always possible).

Many medical experts are baffled by this observation and for most of the time they are yet to find a real scientific basis to explain why some mesothelioma patients survive and others do not.

There seems to be one common factor amongst those that have survived the disease for longer times - the immune system. Studies of those who have either survived or been cured of the disease reveal that most of these patients participated in some sort of therapy that enhanced their immune system. Some treatments included clinical trials in immunology while others involved alternative therapies dealing with the immune system.

A number of mesothelioma survivors have posted their stories on the Internet and have spoken to patients and their families with the hope of providing a brighter outlook for their future. These same survivors have also presented their cases to doctors and researchers. The most outspoken of these individuals is Paul Kraus, an Australian mesothelioma survivor. Kraus was diagnosed with abdominal/ peritoneal mesothelioma in 1997, a form of the disease that is tougher to treat than the more common pleural mesothelioma. Kraus worked in a factory 35 years earlier where he was exposed him to blue (crocidolite) asbestos.

Upon his diagnosis, Kraus changed his diet (he's now a vegetarian), added many vitamins and supplements to his daily routine, began "juicing," and tried a treatment known as ozone therapy. Kraus explains, "They took blood out of a vein, used an ozone machine to add ozone (a molecule composed of three oxygen atoms) to the blood and reintroduced it into my body through a drip. The rationale for that was that cancer does not like an oxygenated environment." The research in putting the protocol together took a lot of time, but in the long-run, Kraus believes the combination of all these treatments stabilized his mesothelioma. Today, tests show he still has the disease and his body is a bit weaker than it was, but he has no pain and his doctors tell him he has many more years to live. Kraus stresses the fact that he is not the only mesothelioma survivor.

He has cited the case of a man diagnosed 14 years ago at age 58 (no name given) who had a chest wall resection after diagnosis and has had no symptoms or recurrence since. His doctors believe there was "moderate host inflammatory response" and that spontaneous regression may be an immune-mediated phenomenon" - in other words, his immune system played a role in his survival.

Another survivor, Rhio O'Connor - who recently published a book about his fight with mesothelioma - has lived with the disease for seven years. He opted against the conventional methods of treatment like surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Instead, with the help of several medical physicians, he developed a regimen that included 100 supplements per day, changed his diet drastically, and now practices what he calls "mind-body medicine" (such as non-stress techniques like meditation). In his book, he recommends a variety of alternatives to traditional medicines and treatments.

All mesothelioma patients should be encouraged to participate in clinical trials especially those that are trying out new methods of boosting the immune system.

Bello Kamorudeen.


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