Like most cancers, first-line treatment for mesothelioma often includes chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, or a combination of those treatments. Mesothelioma is very rare, however, affecting approximately 3,000 people in the United States each year; consequently, data on the effectiveness of treatment protocols is limited. A comprehensive Japanese study recently closed some of this gap by measuring the results of one of the most common treatment regimens in patients with pleural mesothelioma.
For patients diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma, the course of treatment depends on whether their tumors are resectable, meaning that they can be surgically removed in their entirety, or unresectable. Patients with resectable tumors often undergo neoadjuvant chemotherapy to shrink them as much as possible before they are surgically removed. The Japanese Mesothelioma Interest Group examined data from 24 malignant pleural mesothelioma patients, most of whom completed this treatment regimen.
The patients’ results were promising; 90 percent saw complete macroscopic tumor resection. There was no 30- or 90-day mortality among the patients following their procedures; the average survival rate among the patients was 3.45 years, with almost all the patients achieving one-year survival and 70 percent reaching two-year survival. Remarkably, patients undergoing this protocol of chemotherapy followed by surgery regained an average of 78 percent of their lung function after the surgery, enabling them to retain much of their quality of life.
Treatments Differ for Unresectable Mesothelioma
Although surgery is the best option for patients whose tumors are resectable, many mesothelioma patients are not eligible by the time they receive a diagnosis. Mesothelioma, which is caused by exposure to asbestos, can take decades to develop after initial exposure, and early symptoms are easy to overlook. A biopsy is needed to accurately diagnose mesothelioma, and additional imaging tests should be performed to determine the stage of the cancer. Many patients are not diagnosed until later in the disease’s progression, by which time the cancer has spread and often cannot be operated on. Some patients in early stages may also find that their tumors cannot be removed surgically, either because they are not healthy enough for surgery or because the position of the tumor makes it difficult to resect.
Patients who are not candidates for surgery may still undergo chemotherapy, sometimes with multiple drugs working in conjunction with each other. They may also receive radiation, which can help kill cancer cells as well as manage painful symptoms. Emerging treatments such as targeted therapy and immunotherapy have shown positive results for mesothelioma patients, and some late-stage patients may be able to join clinical trials for treatments still in development, but these options are not all widely available to mesothelioma patients.
Philadelphia Mesothelioma Lawyers at Shein Law Advocate for Mesothelioma Patients and Their Families
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or other asbestos-related disease, the Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyers at Shein Law can help. Our experienced legal team has successfully represented individuals and their families in all types of cases, and we will be with you every step of the way so that you can focus on your treatment and recovery. Call us at 877-743-4652 or contact us online to discuss your case. Our offices are located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, and we proudly serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.