Although more and more people are being diagnosed with mesothelioma, the disease is still relatively uncommon. In fact, many medical centers have little or no experience treating the disease. Mesothelioma medical centers that do specialize in mesothelioma treatment must rely on limited strategies, as there is no known cure and no universally agreed-upon course of therapy. Chemotherapy, while not a cure, is often used in combination with other therapies in the treatment of mesothelioma. If you or a loved one is undergoing chemotherapy for mesothelioma, it is important to understand what to expect.
What is Chemotherapy?
Although you may be familiar with the term, you might not fully understand what it means to undergo chemotherapy. Mesothelioma patients may be advised to receive chemotherapy as a part of their treatment. Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that involves the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells. However, chemotherapy may also kill healthy cells, including those that cause the hair to grow. This is why people often lose their hair when undergoing chemotherapy. Fortunately, this is not a permanent concern for people when they have mesothelioma. Chemotherapy-induced side effects such as these usually disappear once the course of treatment is complete.
With some types of cancer, chemotherapy is enough to “cure” the disease. In other words, it will kill the cancer cells permanently. In cases where the cancer is more aggressive, as is the case with mesothelioma cancer, chemotherapy is used merely to control cancer growth and ease symptoms.
Types of Chemotherapy
When you are receiving chemotherapy for mesothelioma, you may be aware that there are various types of chemotherapy. These different forms of chemotherapy include:
- Neoadjuvant chemotherapy, a type of chemotherapy that is used to shrink a tumor prior to surgery or radiation therapy;
- Adjuvant chemotherapy, which is used to finish destroying remaining cancer cells after surgery or radiation therapy;
- Systemic chemotherapy, the use of anticancer drugs to destroy cancer cells throughout the body (hence the term “systemic”), as opposed to a localized area, wherein the drugs enter and circulate through the bloodstream after being administered orally, intravenously, or via injection into a muscle;
- Intraperitoneal chemotherapy, a treatment that involves the direct injection of anticancer drugs into the abdominal cavity using a thin tube; and
- Intracavity chemotherapy, an innovative approach to chemotherapy that is similar to intraperitoneal chemotherapy, wherein the anticancer drugs are directly injected into the chest or abdominal cavity, where they can be administered at higher doses without causing the toxic effects they would if administered systemically through the bloodstream, and heated to increase their ability to kill cancer cells.
Mesothelioma Treatment Help
If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it’s important to find a medical center that specializes in the treatment of this rare and devastating disease. Treatment plans vary from person-to-person; however, an experienced team of cancer specialists can help review your treatment options and devise the best plan for you. Even if a plan doesn’t include chemotherapy, mesothelioma patients should continue seeing their physician(s) and receiving care.
For those suffering from mesothelioma, chemotherapy can add to the financial burden. For this reason you may want to consider obtaining or speaking to an attorney. Depending on your personal situation, you may be eligible for some recompense. We can help you find a lawyer that can help you determine what, if any, legal steps you can take. Contact us today.