Different Chemo therapy Options for Mesothelioma

Chemo therapy is an important treatment option for mesothelioma. Though extremely aggressive in nature, chemotherapy has been found to be very effective in the elimination of cancer cells, and in the reduction of tumors. Chemotherapy is often used to address peritoneal and pleural mesothelioma cancer cells. However, chemotherapy is typically used in conjunction with other medicines in order to bring about the desired results. Though chemotherapy is not a cure for mesothelioma, it can help alleviate some of the most extreme symptoms. However, this treatment cannot be used for all patients, though it may be the best option for those who cannot undergo surgery for stage III or stage IV mesothelioma.


Is Chemotherapy Right for Me?


The main goal of chemotherapy treatment is to shrink cancer tumors and eradicate cancer cells. Chemotherapy performs these functions by attacking those cells within the body that quickly divide and facilitate the spread of cancerous cells and tumors. Chemotherapy prevents the continued division of these cancerous cells. However, chemotherapy is so aggressive in its attack of cells that it does not distinguish between healthy cells and the cancerous cells that need to be eliminated. In fact, chemotherapy patients often experience hair loss as a result. This is because some of the body’s fastest growing cells are hair follicles, which are easily targeted, and thus damaged through the treatment.


Besides preventing the division of cancerous mesothelioma cells, chemotherapy also has the ability to reduce the size of mesothelioma tumors. By doing so, this addresses one of the main symptoms of mesothelioma: metastasis. Metastasis is the spreading of cancer from one organ to another, and this process can greatly decrease one’s life expectancy and ability to live with the disease.


Chemotherapy is an extreme treatment with significant side effects. These side effects include hair loss, fatigue, rash, fever, appetite loss and body aches. The more serious and life threatening side effects include a compromised immune system and anemia, which causes a decrease in red blood cells. These more extreme symptoms are the reason why chemotherapy is considered to be such an extreme treatment. Though it can eradicate cancer causing cells, a compromised immune system and low red blood cells can increase an already ill patient’s susceptibility to other fatal diseases.


Different Chemotherapy Options


Chemotherapy treatment can be received either through direct application into the body cavity where the cancer can be found, through systemic means. Direct application involves the administration of the chemotherapy drug through a tube that allows the medication to enter the body cavity where the mesothelioma cancer cells are located. Though chemotherapy drugs are able to enter the bloodstream through this process, most of the drug is absorbed by the body region where the mesothelioma cancerous cells are located. Systemic chemotherapy treatment injects the drug into a patient’s vein, or can be ingested in pill form. Systemic chemotherapy treatment works by travelling through the bloodstream and systemically traveling throughout the patient’s body. Both types of treatment are administered in cycles, with the frequency, duration and final number of cycles being determined on a case-by-case basis.


Some patients only undergo chemotherapy by itself, and not in combination with other therapies/treatments. Multimodal therapy is a treatment option that combines chemotherapy with another form of treatment like radiation or surgery to remove cancerous cells or tumors. Neoadjuvant is a form of pre-surgery treatment that uses chemotherapy to reduce the size of a tumor, before surgery is conducted to remove it entirely. Palliative treatment focuses solely on the removal of mesothelioma symptoms through chemotherapy treatments used in conjunction with radiation therapy and other drugs. Another type of treatment is adjuvant therapy, which employs chemotherapy following surgery in order to reduce the potential risk of cancer cells’ recurrence.
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