Being diagnosed with mesothelioma can be devastating because it is almost always fatal.
While there is no cure for malignant mesothelioma, treatments can slow the progression of the disease. In addition, promising new treatments are being developed that may help you manage your disease until a more long-term cure can be found. You must not give up hope on possible treatments—and your right to compensation for these and other expensive medical treatments from your employer or another negligent party that caused you to develop this disease.
Traditional Treatments Used to Treat Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining around the lungs, abdomen, heart, and other organs caused by asbestos exposure. Many people were exposed to asbestos at work or through secondhand exposure when a worker brought the asbestos home on his clothes. Asbestos fibers can be inhaled or swallowed; then they become embedded in the linings around the organs and trigger the growth of cancer cells. The majority of people develop pleural mesothelioma, which is cancer of the lining around the lungs.
The symptoms of mesothelioma may not emerge for 20 to 50 years after the exposure to asbestos. The precise treatment will be based on where the cancer is located and how far the cancer has progressed. Traditional treatments include the following:
- Surgery. Surgery is performed to remove as much of the cancer as possible and may include removal of the lining surrounding the lungs or one of the lungs.
- Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is a standard treatment that is used to shrink the cancer cells and slow their growth.
- Radiation. Radiation is often used in combination with chemotherapy and surgery to reduce the size of the tumor, kill cancer cells, and reduce the pain in the later stages of the disease.
Experimental Treatments Being Developed for Treatment of Mesothelioma
Because standard treatments have limited effectiveness in treating mesothelioma, researchers are working on new treatments for this disease. You may need to travel to another hospital or cancer treatment center to receive one of these newer treatments.
Some emerging treatments include:
- Gene therapy. Gene therapy is used to inject new genes into the cancer cells. In some studies, this is done through a modified virus. The new gene can help activate the immune system to kill the cancer cells.
- Immunotherapy. This treatment uses the patient’s immune system to fight the cancer by stimulating it to work harder or bolstering it through the introduction of man-made immune system proteins.
- Photodynamic therapy. This treatment uses a drug that makes the cancer cells sensitive to a wavelength of light. When triggered, a high-energy form of oxygen is produced that kills cancer cells.
- New chemotherapy drugs. New chemotherapy drugs are being developed to better fight mesothelioma. One promising treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma, which is cancer of the lining of the abdomen, is heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC). The chemotherapy drugs are heated and administered at the time of surgery to better kill the cancer cells.
- Virus therapies. Specialized viruses are being developed that can be injected into the affected lining to infect and kill the cancer cells or to cause the patient’s immune system to attack the cancer.
- Targeted therapy. Targeted therapy uses drugs or substances to specifically target cancer cells, which can reduce the damage to other cells. Monoclonal antibody therapy uses antibodies developed in the lab to kill or slow the growth of cancer cells. Kinase inhibitors are drugs that are being studied that may block the signals that allow tumors to grow.
- Clinical studies. You may qualify for a clinical study that is further studying one of these or other emerging treatments for mesothelioma. You will need to research these studies on the Internet and discuss which ones may be helpful for you with your physician.
Has a loved one or you developed mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos? You need to obtain the medical care you need and deserve—including helpful experimental treatments—regardless of their cost.
Our experienced mesothelioma attorneys are here to help you fight for the compensation that you deserve for your expensive medical treatments, lost wages, and pain and suffering. We help victims of asbestos exposure who have developed this catastrophic illness throughout the country and can come to you if necessary. We handle these cases on a contingency fee basis, and you do not owe any fees until we settle your case. This means that you will not have any upfront fees that could prevent you from getting the legal assistance that you need.
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