This guide, designed to educate and empower victims of asbestos and mesothelioma, is comprised of a four-part series with each installment answering an important and common question asked by those affected by a devastating and tragically preventable illness. By understanding your disease, you will be able to better cope with the impact it has on your life and the lives of your loved ones. Being informed about mesothelioma-its presentation, causes, legality, etc.-will also help you make decisions in the coming months about how to best prepare yourself and your family for future you now face.
For many patients, the news that they have fallen victim to a rare type of cancer called mesothelioma comes as a great shock-leaving them with a seemingly endless list of questions about the disease itself and how they contracted it. Over the course of this series, we will address the following issues and concerns:
“What is malignant pleural mesothelioma?”
“What can I expect after a mesothelioma diagnosis?”
“What are the known mesothelioma causes?”
“What do I need to know about mesothelioma law?”
In this second installment, you’ll learn about the diagnostic standards for mesothelioma and how your doctor will likely recommend that you proceed after identifying its presence. Common types of treatment will also be covered.
A conclusive mesothelioma diagnosis is reached after a biopsy revels the presence of malignant cells within a tissue or fluid sample taken from the affected anatomical region. Generally, advanced imaging techniques-including an MRI or CAT scan-will be used to try and rule out mesothelioma cancer first, and the results of those procedures can often indicate with near-certainty a positive diagnosis. However, the current clinical standard requires a biopsy be performed for conclusive diagnostic purposes.
Once you have received a definitive mesothelioma diagnosis, you may be referred to a specialist called an oncologist. You will likely also be referred to a specialized cancer treatment center-primarily located in major U.S. cities including Houston, New York, Boston and San Francisco. More than 70 percent of all patients with various cancers are treated in these exclusive facilities.
Common Treatment Methods
Malignant mesothelioma treatment in the U.S. consists of three conventional methods, which are frequently combined in what is called a multimodality approach. Surgery is used to remove malignancies and surrounding affected tissue. Chemotherapy administers powerful drugs, either orally or intravenously, to attack cancer cells inside the body. And radiation therapy employs the use of high-energy radiation to kill malignant cells and/or shrink existing tumors.
Alternative treatments for mesothelioma are also available through independent sources, but none have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) nor adequately studied in a clinical setting. Still, statistics show that the majority of patients receiving treatment at cancer hospitals in the U.S. also receive at least one form of holistic or homeopathic treatment in conjunction-including herbal therapy, specific nutritional regimens and even focused meditation practices.