Many people have suffered, and even died, from the horrible effects of mesothelioma. Fortunately, different segments of society have taken effective steps to address the problem. The government has passed laws implementing safety requirements for those who work with asbestos. Science and medicine are always seeking improvements in early diagnosis and effective treatment. Strong-willed patients and their lawyers have sued to hold wrongdoers accountable. Finally, some uses of asbestos have been banned. But will mesothelioma ever be eradicated? As we have previously discussed, because asbestos has effective uses in many industries, there are many proponents of asbestos who are strongly opposed to an absolute ban of the mineral. Therefore, eradication of the disease by banning the cause is unlikely at this time. Below we’ll discuss some of the other factors related to the issue.
What Are Some Symptoms of Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma produces a number of common symptoms. These symptoms differ, depending on the part of the body affected by the disease. For example, pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lining around the lungs, is most common, and may produce some of the following symptoms:
- Persistent coughing
- Painful coughing
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Weight loss
If you have any concerns regarding your health, talk to a doctor. A doctor can listen to your lungs, use x-rays, and other diagnostic tools to assess your condition. Also keep in mind that other forms of mesothelioma can affect other parts of the body.
Current Treatments for Mesothelioma
There are currently a variety of ways in which doctors may treat mesothelioma, depending on a variety of circumstances. We will address some below, focusing on pleural mesothelioma. First, if mesothelioma is diagnosed, doctors use a variety of tests, such as MRIs, CT scans, and PET scans to determine the stage of the cancer. The doctor will then determine the best treatment for the circumstances. Below are treatment options, which might be pursued independently, or in combination.
Surgery – A doctor may operate to remove the cancer. If mesothelioma is diagnosed early enough, a doctor may be able to remove all of the cancer. In other instances, the doctor may only be able to remove a portion of the cancer. Surgery might be performed for other reasons, such as decreasing fluid in the lungs.
Chemotherapy – Most people are familiar with chemotherapy due to its use in treating a variety of cancers. Chemotherapy drugs are used to kill cancer cells. The hope is usually to shrink cancer, or to slow its growth.
Radiation therapy – A variety of types of radiation can be used, and are directed to a specific part or parts of the body in an effort to shrink or kill cancer cells. The radiation damages the DNA of the cell.
Targeted therapy – Targeted therapy uses medicines which attempt to interfere with the functioning of cancer cells. The drugs often interfere with the proteins in the cell.
Future Treatment Alternatives
Studies and clinical trials are ongoing for the treatment of mesothelioma and other cancers. Many involve the targeted therapy concepts discussed above. Other treatment concepts being investigated are boosting a patient’s immune system and altering a patient’s genes. While everyone certainly hopes for a bright future, full of treatment options, only time will tell how effective they will be. For now, as long as employees and others suffer significant exposure to asbestos, the possibility of contracting mesothelioma continues.
Call with Questions
If you have concerns about mesothelioma, please contact us with your questions. Perhaps you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms you would like to discuss. Even if you are not sure about whether you have been exposed to asbestos, we can help you investigate. We believe that it is imperative to hold those accountable who do not adequately protect employees and others from the dangers of asbestos. This accountability protects all of society. Our experienced mesothelioma lawyers can assist you with all of your questions.
WebMD article on mesothelioma – http://www.webmd.com/cancer/mesothelioma-11211
National Cancer Institute – “What Is Radiation Therapy?” – https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/types/radiation-therapy/radiation-fact-sheet#q1
National Institutes of Health – “How Are Asbestos-Related Lung Diseases Treated?” https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/asb/treatment