Were you exposed to asbestos in the workplace and have now been diagnosed with mesothelioma because of it? If so, you need answers about how the disease is treated and how you can hold the employer whose negligence led to your disease accountable. Victims of asbestos abuse are entitled to financial settlements to help with all of their treatments, including chemotherapy.
Many cancer patients dread the possibility of having to go through chemotherapy to treat their disease. People are very familiar with the difficult side-effects caused by chemo—including nausea and hair loss—and often fear that more than the disease itself. For mesothelioma patients, chemo will likely be at least a part of the treatment plan. In fact, 70 percent of mesothelioma patients are treated with chemotherapy. If you were recently diagnosed with mesothelioma, learn about how chemotherapy may alleviate some of your suffering and extend your life.
Understanding the Disease
Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer that affects the sensitive membranes surrounding vital organs. It is caused by asbestos fibers being inhaled or ingested and lodging in the lining of either the lungs, heart, or abdomen. The period of time between exposure to asbestos and a diagnosis is, on average, nearly 50 years, which means that people being diagnosed today most likely worked with asbestos as long ago as 1968. However, mesothelioma is also being diagnosed in construction and telecom workers who were exposed within the last 10 years. While there is no cure for this vicious disease, there are treatments that can extend a patient’s life and ease his or her pain and suffering. Treatment will depend on how advanced the cancer is and where the disease originated. The three types of mesothelioma are as follows:
- Pleural mesothelioma. This most common form of the disease affects the mesothelium of the lungs.
- Peritoneal mesothelioma. Cancer can also form in the lining of the abdominal cavity, which is the second most common form of the disease.
- Pericardial mesothelioma. The rarest form of the disease affects the membranes surrounding the heart.
Each form of the cancer presents challenges for treatment, but chemotherapy is almost always an option.
How Chemotherapy Is Used to Treat Mesothelioma
Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses powerful drugs to kill cancer cells. A distinguishing feature of cancer cells is that they are extremely fast growing, so drugs have been developed that specifically target fast-growing cells. Unfortunately, other fast-growing cells in the body include cells that line the stomach and cells in hair follicles. Because chemo drugs cannot differentiate between these healthy cells and cancer cells, side-effects of chemo include hair loss and nausea and vomiting. However, its effectiveness in killing cancer cells often make these unpleasant side-effects worth it.
Because mesothelioma is usually extremely advanced by the time it is discovered, chemo is rarely effective in killing all of the cancer in a patient. However, it can be used in conjunction with surgery to effectively reduce the size of the tumors and stop it from spreading further. Chemo can be used in the following ways:
- Neoadjuvant therapy. In this treatment, chemo is used before surgery to shrink the tumors as much as possible so that they are easier to remove.
- Adjuvant therapy. Chemo may also be used after surgery to kill as many cells as possible that were not removed by the surgery.
- Primary therapy. When surgery is not possible, chemo may be used to shrink the cancer and slow its growth.
Chemotherapy drugs may be injected into the veins for systemic treatment, or delivered directly to the body cavity where the tumors are located—either the chest or abdomen—through a catheter. There are a variety of drugs that have proven effective for treating mesothelioma and several will likely be used together in a chemo regimen. Most patients will get chemotherapy treatments in cycles of 3 to 4 weeks followed by a period of rest for the body to recover before the next cycle.
Call the Mesothelioma Attorneys at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault
While you are undergoing chemo and other treatments for mesothelioma, allow our attorneys to fight for the compensation you deserve after workplace exposure to asbestos. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means we do not charge for our services until after your claim is settled. Our fee is based upon a percentage of your settlement, so there are no upfront costs required for you to get the legal help you need. Call us to schedule a free consultation today. We serve asbestos abuse victims across the country.