Although mesothelioma does not yet have a cure, a large range of treatment options are available and, when used in conjunction, can show more positive results than adhering to just one. When more than one treatment option is used simultaneously to treat the disease, it is called multimodal mesothelioma treatments.
An example of a multimodal mesothelioma treatment would be if doctors surgically removed a patient’s cancerous tissue. After this, direct chemotherapy might be applied to the region in the body where the tumor was removed. In addition, chemical treatments of general chemotherapy might be used at the same time. The point is to attack mesothelioma from as many angles and with as many different treatments as possible in order to destroy the cancer and lessen the chances of its return. Furthermore, radiation can also be used to destroy mesothelioma. In the absence of a cure, multimodal mesothelioma treatments appear to be the most beneficial treatment approach.
However, this is not to say that single modality treatments, or treatments that only use one line of attack, are not beneficial and not able to significantly slow the disease. For instance, pleuropneumonectomy is a serious surgical treatment that removes diseased portions of the lung, pleura, diaphragm, and pericardium. Alone, it produces decreased mesothelioma mass, vitality, and rate of growth. In coordination with other treatments, however, there is a much higher rate of mesothelioma impediment, which is why multimodal mesothelioma treatments are significantly more useful, even though they do involve more numerous and intense side effects from radiation and the various forms of chemotherapy.
Biomarkers and Multimodal Treatments
Finally, the ability to use biomarkers, which aid in the accuracy of identifying diseased tissues and tracking their movement and proliferation throughout the body, further justifies the use of multimodal mesothelioma treatments. This is due to this diagnostic test’s ability to give doctors and specialists an increased ability to track where the disease has spread and its severity. Ideally the use of biomarkers will allow technicians to design better treatments in the future.
Biomarkers are the specific chemical and biological components spread throughout the mesothelioma tumor. Because these are different than components found in regular body cells, they can be used to effectively differentiate where the regular tissue is and where the cancerous, diseased tissue resides. This allows a more precise surgery, diagnosis, and overall holistic course of health care for patients with mesothelioma.
The use of multimodal treatment, aided with biomarkers, is currently the best scientific technique available to impede the spread of malignant mesothelioma. This devastating and currently incurable disease is linked to asbestos exposure, impacting patients 20 to 50 years after undergoing sustained exposure to significant quantities of asbestos. Fortunately, greater awareness of this disease, improved treatment techniques and heavier regulation of asbestos ensures patients will see a greater prognosis associated with mesothelioma and related asbestos diseases.
- Beil, Damian R. & Lawrence M. Wein. (June 12, 2001) “Analysis and comparison of multimodal cancer treatments.” Retrieved on March 15, 2011 from IMA Journal of Mathematics Applied in Medicine and Biology.