Epithelial mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the lining of the abdomen, known as the peritoneum. This cancer is caused by exposure to asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral that was widely used in industries like construction, shipbuilding, and automotive manufacturing until the 1970s. Unfortunately, the symptoms of mesothelioma typically do not appear until decades after exposure to asbestos, which can make it difficult to diagnose and treat the disease.
There are several treatment options for epithelial mesothelioma in the abdomen, which may be used alone or in combination depending on the stage of the cancer and the patient’s overall health. These treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy, as well as newer approaches like immunotherapy and targeted therapy. In this article, we will explore each of these treatment options in more detail.
Surgery is often the first-line treatment for epithelial mesothelioma in the abdomen. The goal of surgery is to remove as much of the cancer as possible, while preserving as much healthy tissue and organ function as possible. The most common surgical procedure for mesothelioma is called debulking surgery, which involves removing as much of the cancerous tissue as possible. In some cases, more extensive surgery may be necessary, such as removal of the affected organs or tissue.
While surgery can be effective in removing mesothelioma tumors, it is not always possible depending on the location and extent of the cancer. Additionally, surgery can be a risky procedure for patients with mesothelioma, as it may cause complications or worsen symptoms. Therefore, surgery is typically only recommended for patients who are in good health and have a good chance of successful recovery.
Chemotherapy is a systemic treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells throughout the body. Chemotherapy is often used in combination with surgery or radiation therapy, or as a standalone treatment for mesothelioma. The drugs used in chemotherapy are administered intravenously and may cause side effects such as nausea, fatigue, and hair loss.
While chemotherapy can be effective in slowing the growth of mesothelioma tumors, it is not a cure for the disease. Additionally, chemotherapy can be toxic to healthy cells in the body, which can cause side effects and make it difficult for patients to tolerate treatment.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells in the body. This treatment may be used in combination with surgery or chemotherapy, or as a standalone treatment for mesothelioma. Radiation therapy can be administered externally or internally, and may cause side effects such as fatigue, skin irritation, and nausea.
While radiation therapy can be effective in shrinking mesothelioma tumors, it is not always successful in completely eliminating the cancer. Additionally, radiation therapy can cause damage to healthy tissue in the body, which can cause side effects and make it difficult for patients to tolerate treatment.
Immunotherapy is a newer treatment approach for mesothelioma that uses the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells. This treatment involves drugs that help boost the immune system’s ability to recognize and attack cancer cells. Immunotherapy has shown promising results in clinical trials and may be used in combination with other treatments for mesothelioma.
Targeted therapy is a treatment approach that targets specific genes or proteins that are involved in the growth and spread of cancer cells. This treatment is often used in combination with chemotherapy or as a standalone treatment for mesothelioma. Targeted therapy may cause fewer side effects than other treatments, as it is designed to target only cancer cells and spare healthy cells in the body.
In conclusion, there are several treatment options available for epithelial mesothelioma in the abdomen, which may be used alone or in combination depending on the patient’s overall health and the stage of the cancer. These treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy. While these treatments can be effective in slowing the growth of mesothelioma tumors, they are not always successful in completely eliminating the cancer. Therefore, it is important for patients with mesothelioma to work closely with their healthcare team to develop a personalized treatment plan that meets their individual needs and goals.