Mesothelioma Support Networks
Continued from: Mesothelioma Treatment Centers and Facilities
Mesothelioma support networks play an integral role in the mental and emotional treatment of the deadly cancer. Family often serves as the primary source of mesothelioma support for victims of the disease; however, not everyone suffering from malignant mesothelioma has a family from which to receive support of some kind. Mesothelioma support organizations provide an avenue through which such people can receive comfort and assistance during the hardships that are associated with treatment.
Mesothelioma Treatment Centers
There are a number of mesothelioma treatment centers located throughout the United States and around the world that are dedicated to the treatment of malignant mesothelioma. Although mesothelioma treatment centers are often associated with radical and experimental treatment modalities, they also cater to some of the more traditional methods used in the treatment of malignant mesothelioma.
The University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine is home to a highly advanced mesothelioma treatment center. Mesothelioma support is readily available to those in need and ongoing mesothelioma clinical trials involving experimental procedures are available to patients with advanced mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma treatments have thus far been unable to limit the spread of the deadly cancer. Treatments for mesothelioma are divided into two categories: traditional mesothelioma treatments and new mesothelioma treatments.
Traditional mesothelioma treatments are the same as those used to treat most other cancers, and include:
- Radiation therapy (radiotherapy)
Traditional mesothelioma treatments are often used in conjunction with one another in an effort to provide the most thorough and effective method of treatment. For example, trimodality therapy combines all three traditional methods of treatment. Chemotherapy is administered with the aim of slowing the growth of malignant mesothelioma. Mesothelioma chemotherapy treatments are followed by surgery designed to physically remove a mesothelioma tumor mass (extrapleural pneumonectomies are often performed as part of trimodality therapy). Postoperative radiation therapy is used for the final step, to target any lingering mesothelioma cancer cells. Although trimodality therapy has been unable to eradicate malignant mesothelioma, it has proven to be effective in significantly prolonging patients' survival time by as much as five years (the average post-diagnosis survival time is one to two years).
New mesothelioma treatments have been researched and developed with the hope of succeeding where traditional methods have not. Mesothelioma researchers are optimistic that new mesothelioma treatment modalities will eventually prove to be successful, though they have yet to yield results that are any better than traditional methods.
New treatments for mesothelioma include:
- Development of new chemotherapy agents
- Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
- Photodynamic therapy (PDT)
- Gene therapy
A large part of the optimism held by researchers revolves around the development and implementation of new chemotherapy drugs such as Alimta, Veglin and Onconase. Such drugs, though still in the clinical trial process, are viewed by many to offer the most effective and practical approach to the treatment of malignant mesothelioma.
[Page updated March 2006]