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What are the possible treatments for mesothelioma?

The most common type of mesothelioma in New York affects the tissue surrounding the lungs, often causing symptoms including shortness of breath, unusual lumps of tissue under the skin on your chest, painful coughing, unexplained weight loss and chest pain. You should see a doctor if you experience symptoms such as these, especially if you have a history of asbestos exposure.

Once you receive a diagnosis of mesothelioma, your doctor will discuss options with you. According to the Mayo Clinic, the recommended treatment course will depend on the location of the cancer and its stage. Unfortunately, the more advanced the cancer is, the less likely it is that a cure is possible. You may prefer a treatment that focuses more on controlling your symptoms and keeping you comfortable, or you may wish to try and treat the cancer. Your doctor will take your preferences into consideration when formulating a treatment plan.

Radiation therapy and chemotherapy both work to kill cancer cells, but in different ways. Radiation therapy may accompany surgery, or your doctor may administer it on its own. It involves killing cancer cells by focusing high-energy beams in the area where they exist. Chemotherapy has the same goal as radiation but uses chemicals rather than X-rays or similar high energy beams. Colloquially referred to as “chemo,” chemotherapy can accompany surgery either before or after.

A surgeon may relieve the signs and symptoms of mesothelioma by removing the pleura, or tissue surrounding the lung, in a procedure called a pleurectomy. A more aggressive modality is to remove the lung entirely.  Radiation therapy may then follow the procedure.

Rarely, your doctor may recommend targeted therapy for mesothelioma if a DNA test of the tumor shows certain vulnerabilities in the cancer cells. Specific drugs may be effective at attacking these vulnerabilities. Another option may be immunotherapy that encourages your body to fight the cancer on its own.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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