Mesothelioma can be a difficult cancer to treat no matter what stage the patient is in. Factors such as whether the treatment is a palliative or curative one and the goal of the specific treatment are important to acknowledge before treatment begins. It is also important to determine the benefits and risks associated with various treatments to make a more informed decision. The TNM system divides the patient’s mesothelioma into several stages that will aid the doctor in determining a prognosis. However, a simpler system is also in place that helps to determine whether the cancer is resectable or unresectable. Resectable mesothelioma means that all of the visible tumor can be removed by various surgical procedures. Conversely, unresectable means that surgery is not an option as a course of treatment.
Mesothelioma is labeled recurrent when it returns after treatment. Recurrence can either be local, meaning it is in or near the same area of the body it originated in, or it can be distant, meaning it has spread to other organs such as the brain or liver. Mesothelioma tends to be a recurrent type of cancer. Subsequent treatments depend on factors such as where the cancer is located, the patient’s general health, and what courses of treatment have already been used. Treatment options for recurrent mesothelioma generally mimic those used for unresectable mesothelioma. Sometime clinical trials are a viable option for recurrent cancers, as they can be difficult to treat. Clinical trials can sometimes offer new methods when other treatments have failed.
Treatment of Mesothelioma
Only a licensed physician or specialist can diagnosis mesothelioma and develop the best course of treatment for individual patient needs. Whether labeled resectable or unresectable, mesothelioma is a difficult cancer to treat. Often the course of action determined for mesothelioma patients is palliative, aimed at symptom relief or extending prognosis. Mesothelioma has been largely linked to exposure to asbestos, a human carcinogen that through inhalation or ingestion becomes embedded in the lungs, heart, and abdomen. There is currently no known cure for mesothelioma.