Mesothelioma Survival Rate
According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the overall five-year survival rate for patients with mesothelioma is 10%. This low survival rate is due to the fact that mesothelioma is often diagnosed when it has already reached an advanced stage and spread from its original location to other parts of the body. How long a patient will live after being diagnosed with mesothelioma can also depend on several other factors.
Stage of the Cancer
Mesothelioma that is detected when it is at an early stage and has not metastasized is much easier to treat than cancer that has affected other organs far from its original location. The American Society of Clinical Oncology reported that the five-year survival rate for patients whose mesothelioma is detected at an early and localized stage is 20%. Once the cancer has spread to nearby areas and/or lymph nodes, the five-year survival rate goes down to 12%. For patients whose mesothelioma has spread to more distant parts of the body, the five-year survival rate falls to just 8%.
A person’s age at the time of diagnosis can also affect how long he or she may live. Younger patients tend to live longer than individuals who are diagnosed with mesothelioma when they are older. According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, patients are 72 years old on average when they are diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma (a form of cancer that affects the lining around the lungs).
Type of Mesothelioma
Most people with mesothelioma have a pleural form of the disease. Mesothelioma can also affect the linings that surround the abdomen, heart, and testicles.
Mesothelioma can be described by the type of cancer cells. Most patients with mesothelioma have the epithelioid type, which metastasizes slower than the other forms. Epithelioid mesothelioma may be treated successfully with chemotherapy.
Sarcomatoid mesothelioma is more difficult to treat. For patients with this form of cancer, chemotherapy may be ineffective.
Mixed, or biphasic, mesothelioma contains a combination of epithelioid and sarcomatoid cells. The ratio of the different types of cells can vary from patient to patient. Biphasic mesothelioma is more difficult to treat than the epithelioid form, but it may be treated more successfully than sarcomatoid mesothelioma.
How Mesothelioma May Be Treated
A doctor may use a series of tests, including a physical examination, imaging studies, a biopsy, laboratory tests, and a lung function test, to figure out how advanced a patient’s mesothelioma is. The results of those tests can help the doctor choose the best course of treatment.
If mesothelioma is diagnosed when it is still at an early stage, it may be possible to treat the cancer with surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, or some combination of these approaches. Some patients may also be eligible for clinical trials.
Cancer that is at a more advanced stage and has metastasized to other parts of the body is more difficult to treat. If a patient has stage 4 mesothelioma that has already spread far from its original location, doctors may use chemotherapy or immunotherapy to help him or her live longer, but those treatments are unlikely to cure the cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. For patients with advanced mesothelioma, doctors can prescribe drugs to relieve pain.
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Mesothelioma Treatment Side Effects
If you received a diagnosis of mesothelioma, your medical professional will determine the best treatments for your specific type of mesothelioma. There are different types of treatments based on whether or not a person develops pleural (lung), pericardial (heart), peritoneal (abdomen), and testicular mesothelioma.
Additionally, depending on the stage of your cancer, you will also have different types of treatments. All cancer-related treatments have side effects. Learn more about the mesothelioma treatment side effects below for the specific types of treatments often used to treat this type of cancer.
There are several different types of surgeries that may occur related to mesothelioma. Some of these include pleurectomy (removal of lungs and lining of the chest), extrapleural pneumonectomy (removal of the entire lung, the lining of the chest, the lining of the sac around the heart, and diaphragm), pleurodesis (removal of fluid build-up), or debulking surgery (removal of as much mesothelioma as possible).
Surgery often tends to directly treat the mesothelioma by removing as much of the cancerous cells as possible. Some of the mesothelioma surgery treatment side effects may include pain on the site of the surgery, bleeding, infections, or blood clots.
Radiation is a treatment that uses different types of radiation and/or x-rays in order to completely kill cancer cells or prevent them from growing. Some of the side effects of this type of treatment may include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, skin changes, diarrhea, and skin changes. In some cases, if the mesothelioma is in the chest, the radiation may cause difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
Chemotherapy treatment for mesothelioma attempts to stop the continued growth of cancer cells. Unfortunately, this mesothelioma treatment includes the side effect of killing healthy cells as well. Other side effects include hair loss, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sores in the mouth, infection, fatigue, easy bruising, bleeding, or changes in blood counts.
Targeted therapy attempts to address mesothelioma at a biological level by altering a gene or protein that typically helps a cancerous cell grow. The side effects of these treatments include headaches, dry skin, dry or watery eyes, bleeding, or runny nose/sneezing.
Immunotherapy is a type of treatment for mesothelioma that attempts to boost the immune system of a person in order to fight the cancerous cells on their own. Many clinical trials include types of immunotherapy drugs such as pembrolizumab (Keytruda), ipilimumab (Yervoy), or nivolumab (Opdivo). Side effects include fatigue, skin rashes, itching, diarrhea, coughing, joint pain, fever, or nausea.
Working with a Mesothelioma Lawyer
Make sure to always visit with your healthcare provider regarding any possible side effects from your mesothelioma treatments. If you received a diagnosis of mesothelioma, our mesothelioma lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help you with your case, potentially recovering compensation for you. Call today for a free consultation at (800) 307-3113.
For a free legal consultation, call (800) 307-3113
How Can You Treat Mesothelioma Naturally?
The medical community in the United States indicates that there is no cure for mesothelioma, according to current medical research. However, there are ways that you can treat mesothelioma naturally to help the overall quality of life of a patient. These include more natural therapies that are non-invasive and without chemicals or medicines.
Ways to Treat Mesothelioma Naturally
There are several ways to treat the symptoms of mesothelioma naturally. While these natural treatments will not cure mesothelioma, they may ease the symptoms of cancer and help relieve the side effects of cancer treatment and tumor growth. Some of the ways include the following:
- Biofeedback therapy (mind-body therapy that often helps with pain relief and overcoming symptoms from treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation)
- Art therapy, sound therapy, music therapy, and dance therapy
- Pet therapy
- Chiropractic adjustments
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) therapy
- Craniosacral therapy
- Therapeutic touch therapy
- Homeopathy, naturopathy, and/or herbal supplements (patients considering these treatments should proceed with caution and under the advisement of a health provider or medical professional)
- Immunotherapy (many doctors encourage cancer patients to enroll in immunotherapy trials that can reduce cancer or reduce the speed at which it grows)
- Light therapy
- Lymph node drainage therapy
- Meditation and prayer (the mind-body connection is generally considered a strong way to ease physical and emotional pain)
- Myofascial therapy
- Nutritional resources and changes
- Personal fitness training
Complementary and Alternative Medicines (CAM) and Mesothelioma
While there is no direct cure for mesothelioma that medical science recognizes, many doctors and oncologists do recognize the way that traditional medicine can integrate with complementary and alternative medicines in order to provide a better overall quality of life for a mesothelioma patient, which may actually prolong their life.
With the possibility of added time, along with a better quality of life, doctors are now looking to integrate some of the alternative natural choices listed above with traditional treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.
In fact, research from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) indicates that many doctors will encourage patients suffering from mesothelioma to enter clinical trials of immunotherapy. They also indicate that acupuncture can relieve some symptoms of chemotherapy, including nausea.
Additionally, in states that have the legal option to use medicinal cannabis, the NCI explains how using this natural product can ease the symptoms of chemotherapy and the pain associated with mesothelioma. Additionally, most doctors will encourage their patients to seek out holistic therapies that include better nutrition and physical activity to promote the overall health of a person, even if those natural methods will not provide an actual cure for mesothelioma.
Can I Receive Mesothelioma Treatment at the VA?
Yes, you can receive mesothelioma treatment at the VA. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), you could have suffered significant exposure to asbestos while in the military, especially if you served in Iraq or other countries where you might have come into contact with asbestos dust from damaged buildings.
You may also have encountered the harmful mineral if you were working in certain jobs while in the military, for example:
- Shipyard worker
- Car mechanic
- Construction worker
There could be other at-risk occupations within the military. If you can prove that you were exposed to asbestos while serving or working for the military, and have medical reports showing your mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, you could receive mesothelioma treatment at the VA. In fact, there are mesothelioma treatment centers in the VA network that offer specialized care for this type of cancer.
If you suffer from mesothelioma or another serious disease from asbestos exposure during military service, you and your family may also be entitled to certain benefits and compensation.
Filing a Claim
While the VA will offer health benefits and certain compensation to veterans who came into contact with asbestos during military service and subsequently developed asbestos-related diseases, you must file a claim if you want to receive any benefits.
When filing a claim, you will need to prove asbestos exposure during your time at the military and provide medical reports stating your asbestos-related diseases.
Having mesothelioma may entitle you to disability benefits, including a monthly sum. You could also receive other benefits for yourself and your family.
You Might Have Other Options
If the VA refuses your claim, or you suffered additional asbestos exposure in other jobs, you may have the option of filing a lawsuit and recovering compensation that way.
Mesothelioma is an incurable cancer. You may require expensive treatments and prescription drugs for the rest of your life. Holding the negligent party accountable could help you and your family recover damages.
In a mesothelioma lawsuit, you could potentially receive compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pharmaceutical needs
- Medical devices
- Home help
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of life enjoyment
Asbestos Trust Funds
In some cases, you could also receive compensation from an asbestos trust fund if you previously worked for a company that negligently exposed their workers to asbestos. In this case, you will need to file a claim with a specific trust fund.
Speaking with a mesothelioma lawyer can help you get clear about your avenues for pursuing compensation.
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Can Work for You
Contact us today for help with your mesothelioma claim. We can advise you and potentially help you get your due, whether from a trust fund or a personal injury lawsuit.
The funds held in asbestos trust funds can fluctuate, which could affect a settlement. Acting quickly can be advantageous to your claim. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm now for a free evaluation of your mesothelioma claim at (800) 307-3113.
What Clinical Trials Are There for Mesothelioma?
While there is no cure for mesothelioma, that might not always be the case. For some patients, clinical trials could represent their best chance of surviving this disease.
Obtaining approval for a cure from the Food and Drug Administration is a long and challenging process that cannot occur without the results of a clinical trial. Not only do participants receive potentially life-saving treatment, but they also provide essential data that could lead to successful treatment for many other patients.
Multiple clinical trials go on at any given time, and they occur at various clinics across the country. In general, there are three different types of clinical trials:
- Treatment: Pharmaceutical companies use treatment trials to identify drugs that can treat active cases of mesothelioma. These trials can involve new treatments or unique combinations of two or more existing therapies. The trials not only determine the effectiveness of a new drug but also the safety in using it. These trials also exist to identify the appropriate way to administer the new medication if it proves successful.
- Screening: Some clinical trials exist to develop methods of identifying mesothelioma before it has a chance to metastasize. After all, early diagnosis can significantly increase a patient’s chances of survival.
- Prevention: Prevention trials focus on treatments that can prevent a healthy person from ever developing mesothelioma. These trials study not only medications but also a combination of health and lifestyle factors.
Each of these trials can last for years and go through several phases. Promising trials will often progress from one phase to another, while disappointing results could bring other trials to an early end.
Notable Mesothelioma Clinical Trials
The National Cancer Institute currently supports 49 clinical trials for mesothelioma treatment, while the Mayo Clinic has 24 ongoing trials. These trials vary in type, and some no longer accept new patients. Some of the most notable clinical trials include:
- CRS-207: CRS-207 is a trial cancer vaccine. It uses weakened listeria bacteria that has been genetically modified. The purpose of this vaccine is to stimulate an immune response to tumor cells alongside traditional chemotherapy treatment.
- VS-6063: VS-6063 is a stem cell inhibitor designed to prevent recurrence after chemotherapy. Stem cells represent a small percentage of the cells within a tumor, but they play a significant role in cancerous growth.
- Tremelimumab: Tremelimumab is an immunotherapy drug designed to accompany chemotherapy. This immunotherapy treatment has proven successful with other types of cancer but is unproven as a treatment for mesothelioma.
- Measles virus: It may surprise some that many researchers are optimistic that the measles virus could play a role in treating mesothelioma. Although this treatment only targets pleural mesothelioma, researchers are optimistic that it will infect and kill cancerous cells without damaging normal cells. They also hope the virus could trigger a natural response that results in nearby immune cells to destroy the tumor.
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If you have symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, and others, your doctor may suspect mesothelioma. In order to confirm a diagnosis of mesothelioma, you may have to undergo a mesothelioma biopsy, as well as other tests.
According to the American Cancer Society, mesothelioma is a rare cancer that is most commonly caused by exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma can be difficult to diagnose, and there is currently no cure for this type of cancer.
Before a doctor arrives at a mesothelioma diagnosis and can stage the disease accurately, they will most likely order a number of tests, as well as conduct a comprehensive physical exam. Tests that will support a diagnosis can include:
- Imaging studies
- Blood tests
- Mesothelioma biopsy
Biopsies can come in various forms. However, the most common is a thoracoscopy, where a doctor will look at the pleura (the lining of the lungs) while you are under a general anesthetic. This procedure allows the doctor to take small samples of tissues from between your lungs and the chest wall. Samples will be sent to a laboratory where they are analyzed for cancer cells.
Asbestos Can Lurk Anywhere
Those who develop asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, and others, may mostly have been exposed at work. However, sometimes even those who never came into contact with asbestos in their job can develop asbestos-related illnesses. The questions that arise in these cases is typically where and how the exposure occurred. Finding the answer, and finding someone that you can hold responsible, can include a great deal of investigative work.
While the government partially banned asbestos in 1989, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, many older houses still contain materials with large amounts of the substance. This can be dangerous during renovation work when asbestos dust may pollute the air. If you have an older home, you should always have an expert test for asbestos in any walls or ceilings you are thinking of removing. You may need a special mediation company to carry out the work.
Asbestos can also still be present in a number of everyday consumer products such as baby powder, makeup, fabric, paper products, electrical appliances, and others.
If you developed mesothelioma, the chances are that you were exposed to asbestos somewhere, whether at work, at home, or through a consumer product. Either way, you may have legal recourse and can consider hiring a mesothelioma lawyer to discuss your options for recovering compensation.
If you are suffering from an asbestos-related cancer or another disease, you may have several options to get justice and potentially receive compensation. However, as soon as you receive a mesothelioma diagnosis, time is ticking down, as many states have deadlines for filing personal injury lawsuits. Payouts can also fluctuate over time, so the sooner you act, the better. If a company caused your illness, you deserve adequate compensation.
Radiation Treatment for Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that most commonly affects the lining of the lungs, although it can also occur in the abdomen and the heart, according to Mayo Clinic. Symptoms for pleural (lung) mesothelioma can include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Painful cough
Although mesothelioma is considered incurable, there are some treatments that have the ability to slow the progression of the disease and prolong the life of a patient. Radiation treatment for mesothelioma is one such treatment that can help to slow the spread of the cancer as well as offer some relief from symptoms.
According to the American Cancer Society, mesothelioma can be hard to treat with radiation therapy since this particular type of cancer does not produce easily identifiable tumors. This means that radiation treatment for mesothelioma could potentially destroy healthy tissue. However, newer techniques of radiation therapy can make treatments more efficient for mesothelioma, as these techniques provide better control of the radiation.
Radiation therapy typically uses targeted x-ray beams to kill cancer cells. There are two main ways in which radiation can help treat mesothelioma:
- After surgery: A doctor can use radiation therapy to target any small cancer cells that were left behind after surgery.
- Palliatively: Radiation therapy can also keep the effects of mesothelioma in check and may provide some relief from symptoms such as shortness of breath, pain, and bleeding.
However, there can be side-effects with radiation therapy, for example, fatigue, skin burns, and hair loss, among others.
Other Treatments for Mesothelioma
There can be several treatment options for mesothelioma besides radiation therapy. The best treatment for you depends on the stage of your cancer as well as your general state of health and personal wishes. Some other treatments for mesothelioma can include:
- Palliative procedures
Generally, mesothelioma treatment focuses on keeping the patient comfortable because of the tendency to only reach a diagnosis at later stages. This is because of mesothelioma’s long latency period.
Causes of Mesothelioma
If you suffer from mesothelioma, it is extremely likely that your cancer occurred due to asbestos exposure at work or in other circumstances. Asbestos is the number one risk factor for developing mesothelioma. Other risk factors for developing the disease can include:
- Living with someone who works with asbestos
- A family history of mesothelioma
If you developed mesothelioma, you could potentially hold a past employer or another negligent party to account for your illness and the resultng expenses and damages.
You may have several options for receiving compensation, including filing a claim with an asbestos trust fund or filing a personal injury lawsuit. However, you do not have to struggle with this on your own. Professional help is available. A mesothelioma lawyer can advise you on your best options and help you initiate a claim.
Different Types of Mesothelioma Drugs
Although mesothelioma has no cure, it can be treated in several ways, including surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. In chemotherapy, drugs are pumped into the body to try to target and kill cancer cells. However, every type of cancer has its own combination of drugs.
There are different types of mesothelioma drugs that act in slightly different ways, but they can still achieve the desired effect. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), pemetrexed disodium and alimta have been approved to treat malignant mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that forms in mesothelial cells, which are found in the lining of internal organs and internal lining of the body. According to the Journal of Thoracic Disease (JTD), mesothelioma is dangerous because it is a fast-growing type of cancer.
The different methods for treating it are chosen based on the spread of the disease. If it has not spread, surgery can remove the tumors in a localized area. Otherwise, treatments like chemotherapy can be used to attack cancer cells across the body.
Mesothelioma Drugs and Treatments
When mesothelioma is treated with chemotherapy, there are different drugs specifically designed for this type of treatment. Rather than being treated with a single drug at a time, Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management (TCRM) has found that a combination of pemetrexed and cisplatin can be effective when treating mesothelioma.
Chemotherapy is not the only route to take if you do not want to undergo surgery. According to the Mayo Clinic, other forms of treatment can include:
- Radiation therapy: X-rays and protons target specific body parts with a high-energy beam to kill cancer cells. This can also ease the symptoms of mesothelioma.
- Targeted therapy: Although this treatment is not commonly used to treat mesothelioma, these drugs can attack certain vulnerable areas in the cancer cells.
- Immunotherapy: This allows your immune system to fight off the cancer cells and can help stop the cancer cells from producing proteins that attack your immune system cells.
The goal of your lawsuit is to recover monetary compensation for your expenses related to having mesothelioma. Your medical expenses may be the biggest set of claims that you need to file and can be the primary concern for recovering compensation. However, you can recover compensation for other types of expenses, such as lost wages for missing work.
Seeking Legal Action
It may be beneficial for you to consult a lawyer to see what your legal options are. You must follow a certain process to make sure that you can file a lawsuit. It may be a bit difficult to determine who is liable, and it can take extensive research. Consider hiring a lawyer who can help you build your case and can gather evidence so you can focus on treatment. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 307-3113 for a free consultation.
Targeted Therapy for Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a deadly form of cancer that, to date, is also incurable. However, the American Society of Clinical Oncology reports that new therapies and treatments, including targeted therapy drugs, have gained Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in recent years. These drugs include new immunotherapy medications, a type of targeted therapy for mesothelioma. Unlike chemotherapy, targeted therapy focuses on destroying only cancerous cells while leaving untouched the healthy cells of a mesothelioma patient.
How Targeted Therapy for Mesothelioma Works
While several different targeted therapies exist, they all have one thing in common: they aim to mobilize a cancer patient’s immune system to fight the cancerous cells, reduce the size of tumors, and stop cancer from spreading. Targeted therapy only “targets” the disease and spares the healthy cells, making it an excellent tool for fighting mesothelioma compared to some other treatments.
Radiotherapy and chemotherapy, the more traditional choices for fighting cancers, cannot distinguish between healthy cells and cancer cells. While radiotherapy and chemotherapy do good by killing cancer cells, they also destroy healthy cells, which can cause a variety of side effects and other undesirable problems for a mesothelioma sufferer.
Types of Targeted Therapy
Doctors can use several different types of medicines as targeted therapies. Patients receive targeted therapy via pills or an injection directly into the bloodstream. Patients may receive targeted therapy in cycles with rest periods in-between, allowing for the body to recover. When you receive targeted therapy, a doctor will assess you periodically to ensure the treatment works for you.
According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the most common targeted therapies for mesothelioma and other cancers are small molecule drug therapy and monoclonal antibody therapy.
Small Molecule Drugs
Small molecule drugs are small enough to enter cells. These drugs are, therefore, typically used for targets inside the cell.
Monoclonal antibodies are proteins that attach to specific targets on a cancer cell. They can potentially destroy cancer cells by carrying toxins into the cells or causing them to self-destruct.
Targeted therapies are highly tumor-specific, and you might have to undergo various tests (for example, biopsies) to ensure your cancer responds to a particular targeted therapy drug.
How Targeted Therapies Helps Mesothelioma Patients
Targeted therapies are complicated and can help treat your mesothelioma in many ways.
Boosting the Immune System’s Defenses
Cancer grows because your immune system does not know how to find and fight cancer cells. Some targeted therapies make cancer cells visible to a patient’s immune system, making them easier to see and destroy. Targeted therapy can also work by boosting a cancer patient’s immune system.
Slowing Cancer Growth
Some targeted therapies work by inhibiting cancer cells’ ability to divide and grow, which inhibits their ability to metastasize (spread throughout the body).
Interfering with Tumors
A tumor needs to form new blood vessels constantly to grow beyond a certain size. Some targeted therapies work by preventing these blood vessels from forming. Without the ability to create new blood vessels, tumors cannot grow and will stay small. This method may also successfully shrink larger tumors.
Killing Cancer Cells
Monoclonal antibodies work by delivering chemotherapy, toxins, and radiation to targeted cancer cells. This therapy can kill cancer cells without harming any healthy cells.
Starving Cancer Cells
Some hormone-targeted therapies work to prevent the body from producing the hormones that cancer cells need to grow. Others work by stopping the hormones from interacting with the cancer cells, which effectively starves them.
The medical community hopes that targeted therapies can become an amazing tool in the fight against mesothelioma and other cancers. While they might not cure the disease, targeted therapies can stop the spread and slow down cancer. Researchers regularly discover new treatments, and one day, they might find a cure for mesothelioma. You might also have the possibility to take part in clinical trials using new and innovative targeted therapies.
Side Effects of Targeted Therapy
Although targeted therapy generally only attacks cancer cells and spares healthy cells, it might not come entirely without potential side effects and undesirable outcomes. Side effects depend on the type of targeted therapy you receive. According to the NCI, some of the most common side effects include:
- Liver problems
- Blood clotting
- Problems with wound healing
- High blood pressure
- Nail and skin changes
Another drawback of targeted therapy can be that cancer cells become resistant to the drugs over time. Therefore, doctors typically pair targeted therapy together with other treatments such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
While the Mayo Clinic notes that mesothelioma is generally incurable, a number of treatments other than targeted therapy can help to slow down the disease. Treatment depends on the stage of your cancer and your general health. Options include:
- Pain management
- Clinical trials
Your doctor will help you assess the appropriate treatments for your mesothelioma.
You Could Recover Compensation
Mesothelioma is a type of asbestos-related cancer that typically occurs when a person experienced asbestos exposure previously, usually at work. If this happened to you or your loved one, you should know that you could have legal recourse. You could get help with medical costs and other damages.
If your loved one died because of asbestos-related mesothelioma or another cancer, you could potentially hold a negligent company to account by filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
You can assess your options for getting justice and compensation with a mesothelioma lawyer. You might not want to wait too long to review your options, as most states have time restrictions for filing personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits. The clock often starts ticking on the day of your mesothelioma diagnosis or the death of your loved one.
Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm 24/7 for a free, no-obligation consultation by calling (800) 307-3113.
What Happens If Mesothelioma Treatment Doesn’t Work?
If mesothelioma treatment doesn’t work, you may seek a second opinion or try other options as directed under the care of a medical professional. Immunotherapy drugs help your immune system to find and kill cancer cells when chemotherapy isn’t working. Clinical trials or experimental studies may also be available. If these alternative methods do not work or a doctor advises against them, palliative care is always available to alleviate symptoms and pain.
Types of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a rare cancer affecting the lining of different organs, most commonly the lungs. If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, your life can be turned upside down, but treatment options may be available. Understanding more about the diagnosis and treatment options can help you make the right decisions as you cope with this difficult chapter of your life.
According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 3,000 individuals are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year. When a mesothelioma treatment doesn’t work, additional options may improve the prognosis or make the patient as comfortable as possible while battling the disease. The type of mesothelioma the patient has can affect the prognosis and treatment options. Types of mesothelioma include:
- Pleural: Pleural mesothelioma affects the lining of the lungs and accounts for more than 75% of all cases of mesothelioma.
- Peritoneal: This type of mesothelioma is found in the abdomen and is rarer than pleural mesothelioma.
- Pericardial: Pericardial mesothelioma involves the membrane surrounding the heart, making up less than 1% of all mesothelioma cases.
- Testicular: Testicular mesothelioma involves the testicles and, like pericardial mesothelioma, is extremely rare.
In addition to the different locations in the body in which mesothelioma can occur, each case of mesothelioma can also vary in stages. Later stage cancers can spread throughout the body, making them more difficult to manage and treat. If your mesothelioma was caught early, you may have more options available than if your cancer is in the later stages. The American Cancer Society estimates that a patient diagnosed with mesothelioma that has not spread has a 20% five-year survival rate, meaning they are 20% as likely to survive for five years as an individual not suffering from this disease.
Many types of cancer require several methods of treatment over a long period of time. If a mesothelioma treatment doesn’t work, a second opinion or an experimental treatment method may be sought. In severe or late-stage cancers when several treatment options have been exhausted, palliative care is an option, the primary purpose being to maintain the highest level of comfort possible.
Asbestos and Mesothelioma Symptoms
Mesothelioma is known to be primarily caused by exposure to the fibrous substance asbestos, according to the Mayo Clinic. Asbestos is found in a number of common products and building materials. If you were exposed to asbestos for a prolonged period of time, this could have contributed to your diagnosis. If you were unknowingly exposed at your job or home or in another way, the failure of your employer or landlord to disclose the dangers of asbestos exposure may be grounds for legal action.
Additional factors that increase your likelihood of developing mesothelioma include age, gender, race, and lifestyle. Smoking or poor diet, for example, could increase your chances of developing mesothelioma later in life. Men and Caucasians are also at higher risk. In general, most people diagnosed with mesothelioma tend to be older than the age of 70.
Anyone, however, can be diagnosed with mesothelioma, so if you are exhibiting any symptoms, you should seek immediate consultation with a healthcare professional. Symptoms of mesothelioma include but are not limited to:
- Chest pain
- Irregular heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing
- Persistent cough, often with unusual discharge
- Sudden weight loss or change in appetite
Symptoms of mesothelioma can vary based on the type and stage of the cancer. The sooner you seek medical guidance, the more treatment options you may have available. If a treatment option fails, you may have additional measures available as directed by a healthcare professional.
Treatment for mesothelioma should only be prescribed and supervised by a medical professional specializing in this disease. Treatment is largely dependent on each specific case but may include chemotherapy, surgery, palliative measures, experimental pharmaceuticals and treatments, or a combination of all of these. Deciding on a treatment plan can be a very personal decision, so it may be beneficial to explore all of your options to make an educated decision on the path forward that is right for you and your loved ones.
What Mesothelioma Treatments Are Approved by the FDA?
Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer. Finding the right treatment presents a challenge for many mesothelioma patients. If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma recently, you are probably curious to find out what mesothelioma treatments are approved by the FDA.
While there are many different treatments for mesothelioma, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has predominantly approved the use of chemotherapy drugs. According to the National Cancer Institute, the drugs approved for mesothelioma include cisplatin, gemcitabine, and pemetrexed disodium.
However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also recently approved immunotherapy drugs for concurrent treatment with chemotherapy medications, such as durvalumab (which is branded as Imfinzi).
In addition to various prescription medications, the FDA also approved a tumor treating system called NovoTTF™-100L in 2019. This system is a portable device that patients can use in conjunction with certain chemotherapy drugs when surgery is not a viable option. The device may help inhibit tumor growth by causing cancer cells to die.
However, if you have mesothelioma, FDA-approved drugs and therapies may not be your only weapons in the fight against the progression of the disease. The best way to find out about new clinical trials and cutting-edge medications is to consult with your doctor or a mesothelioma specialist at a mesothelioma treatment center.
Standard Mesothelioma Treatments
While mesothelioma is generally incurable, there are a variety of different treatments that can potentially help to slow the spread of the cancer. Treatments can also help to alleviate symptoms such as pain and shortness of breath. The stage of the cancer, the patient’s general health, and the patient’s preferences all play a role in determining the best treatment options.
If cancer is at Stage 1, 2, or 3, surgery may be able to remove most tumors and cancerous lesions. Surgery is usually more successful in the earlier stages of mesothelioma. Removal of tumors can also help patients at a later stage control their symptoms—however, surgery is unlikely to offer any long-term benefits to those who have an advanced stage of mesothelioma. Unfortunately, even at an early stage of mesothelioma, surgery may not remove all the cancer.
A doctor may choose to prescribe chemotherapy without surgery to improve the quality of life of the patient while attempting to slow down the disease. However, a doctor can also try to shrink tumors with chemotherapy before surgery or treat any cancer that remains after surgery. Chemotherapy is often the treatment of choice for late-stage mesothelioma or for patients for whom surgery is not an option.
Chemotherapy may prolong the life of a mesothelioma patient. However, it cannot cure the disease. Chemotherapy also typically comes with many undesirable side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and hair loss. Some patients suffer from debilitating long-term side effects of chemotherapy, including damage to the heart and lungs as well as other health problems.
Radiation therapy typically uses high energy x-rays to kill cancer cells. The American Cancer Society reports that radiation treatment can lengthen life expectancy and alleviate symptoms of mesothelioma patients. A doctor may choose to use radiation therapy to kill any cancer left after surgery. Radiation therapy can also help control shortness of breath, bleeding, and pain in patients. In some instances, radiation therapy can produce side effects, including skin problems and secondary cancer. However, most patients do not experience any serious side effects from radiation therapy.
Immunotherapy uses the body’s own immune system to fight cancer. Unlike chemotherapy, which also kills healthy cells, immunotherapy is a targeted treatment that concentrates only on cancer cells. Immunotherapy uses a certain type of medication that tells a patient’s immune cells to fight tumor cells.
Immunotherapy occasionally causes side effects when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells. Most side effects are mild and may include skin conditions such as redness or dryness. However, on occasion, side effects from immunotherapy can be severe.
Not all potential mesothelioma treatments are approved by the FDA. Clinical trials, for example, can give mesothelioma patients access to new and experimental treatments for this deadly cancer. Because it is challenging to treat mesothelioma effectively, especially at the later stages of the disease, the only hope for some patients may be joining clinical trials when new medications enter the testing phase. You can talk to your doctor or mesothelioma specialist to find out whether a clinical trial may be a good option for you.
Mesothelioma and Asbestos
Mesothelioma is an incurable cancer that is predominantly caused by asbestos exposure, according to the American Cancer Society. Most cases of pleural (or lung) mesothelioma occur due to high levels of workplace asbestos exposure.
Asbestos usually enters the body through inhalation, but sometimes by ingestion. Asbestos fibers stay in the lungs and can cause many debilitating diseases during a person’s lifetime, including mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, and others.
Some occupations are particularly at risk for developing asbestos-related diseases, including:
- Asbestos miners
- Construction workers
- Manufacturing workers
- Automotive workers
- Shipyard workers
Mesothelioma can take decades to develop after asbestos exposure, so those who develop the disease may not even remember where their asbestos exposure occurred. However, a mesothelioma sufferer may still have legal recourse and could potentially receive compensation for their medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more.
If you or a loved one suffer from mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease and you suspect that the disease was caused by workplace exposure, you should contact a mesothelioma lawyer to find out about your legal options. There could be several ways to get the compensation you deserve, including filing a claim with a mesothelioma trust fund or initiating a personal injury lawsuit.
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Is Here to Help
If you or a loved one received a mesothelioma diagnosis, contact the team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm as soon as possible. Our mesothelioma lawyers are ready to help you seek justice. To learn more, call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 307-3113 for a free case evaluation.
Understanding Your Legal Options
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is possible that a wrongful exposure to asbestos contributed to your diagnosis. In addition, while seeking treatment for mesothelioma, sometimes medical professionals make mistakes such as a wrong diagnosis, an inadequate treatment plan, or a failure to review all of the options available for you to fight the disease.
If you believe you are the victim of medical malpractice or negligence, or if a third party was responsible for your exposure to asbestos, you may have grounds for legal action. To learn more about your options, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 307-3113. You can discuss your case during a free consultation, and you may be eligible for financial compensation.