Mesothelioma can go into remission with treatment, but these cases are rare. Remission is the primary goal of every cancer treatment. This means that the treatment the person is receiving is working to reduce or remove the cancer in the body.
Whether a person diagnosed with mesothelioma goes into remission depends on the stage of the cancer, available treatment options, and other factors.
Mesothelioma is treatable if it is caught early and has not moved through the body or into the lymph nodes. Asbestos exposure is the primary risk factor for malignant mesothelioma. The biggest problem with mesothelioma is that it is a difficult cancer to find at an early stage, as its symptoms may not show for years—even decades—after the asbestos exposure.
As the cancer spreads, the person starts to experience symptoms like breathing difficulty, fever, dry cough, and chest pain. But once these symptoms arise, and the person sees a doctor and later receives a diagnosis, the early stage for treatment may have already passed.
Malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer, with most patients not surviving past four to six months, according to a malignant mesothelioma study conducted at Upstate Medical University. However, with treatment, some can survive 15 to 18 months. Complete remission is rare with malignant mesothelioma, and after surgery, the cancer can often recur.
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), doctors are researching and developing tests for early detection of mesothelioma. This type of test would help to diagnose people sooner and get the best treatment available at the stage they are in.
Forms of Remission
When cancerous tumors are reduced during treatment, that’s known as partial remission. Because mesothelioma has no known cure, partial remission is considered a win. In rare cases, a person with mesothelioma might go into complete remission with treatment, which means the biopsies and scans will show zero cancer remaining in the body.
If a mesothelioma patient experiences partial remission with treatment, it shows that the cancerous cell count has lessened, and the size of the tumors have shrunk. The treatment is helping to improve the condition of the patient. The disease is still there, but its symptoms have weakened.
Complete remission occurs when all signs of the cancer and accompanying symptoms are gone. Complete remission has happened for mesothelioma patients, though it is very rare, as this deadly and aggressive cancer spreads quickly throughout the body.
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Mesothelioma Remission Factors
Surgical treatment is likely the most effective treatment to achieve remission of mesothelioma in a patient. But other therapies and lifestyle changes have also helped patients gain more years in remission. According to the ACS, these therapies include chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Significant changes in the diet of the patient and adding nutritional supplements have also been found as factors to help a patient achieve remission.
Mesothelioma attacks the body in two main forms—pleural mesothelioma and peritoneal mesothelioma. The former attacks the linings around the lung and heart, and is hard to treat. Peritoneal mesothelioma spreads throughout a person’s abdominal section and around the stomach linings. Because the latency period may be years before symptoms arrive, adequate treatment for halting this cancer usually comes too late in the stages.
As a result, mesothelioma patients may have limited options for treatment. For cases in which the cancer is widespread throughout the body, a doctor’s recommendation is usually palliative care. The goal of palliative care for a cancer patient is mainly to weaken the worst symptoms of the cancer and try to make the patient feel comfortable. If partial remission occurs, then a patient might be able to enjoy more months or years of life than originally expected.
According to ACS, there are new, emerging forms of treatment—such as vaccine therapy and gene therapy—for people diagnosed with mesothelioma. Vaccine therapy, for example, involves a process where cells from the blood of a patient are removed. The cells are treated in a lab to simulate an attack on tumors. Once the process is underway, the cells are then put back into the patient to see if they will continue to attack the tumors in the body.
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Get Legal Assistance
If you or a loved one has suffered from mesothelioma, and the onset of the cancer was due to negligence in an asbestos-related work situation, then you might be entitled to financial compensation.
Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 794-0444 today to ask questions, seek advice, and explore your legal options. We will not charge you for the consultation. If we determine that you have mesothelioma through no fault of your own, we will move forward with a defense on your behalf to seek financial compensation for your losses.