Treating Mesothelioma and Other Asbestos-Related Cancers

There is no cure for mesothelioma. Sadly, when most people first learn they have malignant mesothelioma, they are often told they only have a very short time left to live.

nurseWhile there is nothing close to a cure, there are several treatment options available. However, there is often somewhat of a mixed bag, and many patients may elect not to undergo these treatment procedures.  The reason for is because they are not very effective in terms of stopping or reversing tumor growth, and they can be very invasive.

For example, for one treatment when the cancer is in the lungs (malignant pleural mesothelioma “MPM”), surgeons will often remove large sections of the lungs to get to the tumor and then spray the open wound with a warmed wash of chemotherapy.  At this point, the patient will be closed up and be exposed to radiation, given chemotherapy, or both.  Patients will often have a very painful daily life to endure, and even in the best cases, their life may be extended for several months, but the tumor will return and start doing more damage to the patient.

While researchers are working on a cure for mesothelioma, as discussed in a recent news article from the Vancouver Sun, there is no “silver bullet” cure and this time, and it doesn’t look like there will be in the immediate future.  In fact, one leading oncologist said that it would not be unrealistic to think of finding a cure for malignant mesothelioma more of a dream that a reality.

One of the reasons for this is because of what doctors call the long latency period.  As our Boston mesothelioma lawyers can explain, once a person is first exposed to the deadly asbestos fibers, it typically takes between 20 and 50 years for a person to become sick to the point where they have noticeable symptoms.  The time frame is not more than 40 years, but it can be as high as 50, with the national average being around 40 years of latency.  This is not the same as dormancy, because the cancer is growing and tumors are spreading during this period.

Except in cases where doctors incidentally discover the cancer when performing unrelated medical procedures, it is very difficult to catch mesothelioma early, as you can with other types of cancers, because patients do not undergo any type of routine screening for mesothelioma.

For this reason, if there is any hope for one day finding that silver bullet that can cure malignant mesothelioma, it will likely involve catching the cancer much earlier than they are presently able to do.  One of the ways doctors hope to be able to diagnose malignant mesothelioma in less advanced stages is through the use of newly developed technology like CyTOF, which is an instrument that can detect the cancer in some victims before it is too advanced.   While CyTOF is promising, there is still a lot of work that has to be done if it is ever going to lead to a significant reduction in cancer cases.

If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.

Additional Resources:

No silver bullet in dealing with asbestos-related cancer, December 28, 2016, By Owen Munro, Vancouver Sun

More Blog Entries:

Rondon v. Hennessy Industries, Inc. – “Inevitable Use” Standard in Asbestos Litigation, July 2, 2016, Boston Mesothelioma Attorney Blog

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