Mesothelioma care

Mesothelioma care – The goal of palliative treatment is simple: relieve pain, reduce symptoms and improve overall quality of life. This type of care is often for patients with terminal cancer and a poor prognosis. Patients with a late-stage diagnosis, either stage III or stage IV, will often choose this type of treatment because of the lack of curative treatment options.

Mesothelioma care

Although palliative treatment does not provide a cure, it has the potential to prolong life expectancy for pleural, peritoneal and pericardial patients.

Pleural Mesothelioma

If aggressive surgery is not recommended for someone with pleural mesothelioma, several palliative treatments can help reduce symptoms and pain. Pleural mesothelioma symptoms generally include coughing, chest pain and shortness of breath. These symptoms result from tumors pressing against vital organs and pleural effusion, a condition marked by a buildup of fluid in the lungs.

Mesothelioma care

Surgery
Chemotherapy
Radiation Therapy

Mesothelioma care
The majority of peritoneal mesothelioma patients are not candidates for curative surgery. Instead, doctors recommend a treatment option that reduces symptoms, alleviates pain and improves overall quality of life while avoiding the rigorous recovery that follows surgery. The procedure is called a paracentesis, which removes fluid that has collected in the abdominal cavity, known as ascites. This treatment can relieve pain and reduce future complications concerning the bowels, kidneys and other parts of the digestive system caused by that fluid.

Mesothelioma care

Another option considered standard is a combination of cytoreductive surgery along with heated chemotherapy in the abdominal cavity. This procedure is highly invasive, although it’s still considered palliative in nature. Cytoreductive surgery, or debulking surgery, is the surgical removal of part of the malignant tumor. This is performed when all of the tumor cannot be removed. After cytoreductive surgery, the efficacy of chemotherapy is significantly improved.

Mesothelioma care

Although the implementation of chemotherapy following surgery has been successful, it’s not always considered palliative because of the side effects. Radiation is not typically used on peritoneal patients.
Pericardial Mesothelioma

Get the Best Treatment

Pericardial mesothelioma is an exceedingly rare type of asbestos cancer, composing around 1 percent of all cases. Because of its rarity, little research is performed into developing treatments that can prolong life expectancy. Although surgery to remove cancerous tumors is an option in some cases, treatment for pericardial is almost strictly palliative, largely because of its proximity to the heart and the risk of complications.

Mesothelioma care

The main option for this type is a pericardiocentesis. This procedure removes excess fluid in the pericardium, the sac that surrounds the heart. The purpose of a pericardiocentesis is to improve quality of life and reduce symptoms, which can consist of chest pain, coughing, difficulty breathing and an irregular heartbeat. Following a pericardiocentesis, the use of the chemotherapy medication cisplatin has been used with a low frequency of complications and may prolong life expectancy.

Mesothelioma care

This form of asbestos cancer is resistant to radiation as a single treatment approach and in combination with chemotherapy. The only effective chemotherapy drug for palliative treatment is gemcitabine, which can have a 40 percent rate of success.
Medication

Mesothelioma care

Medicine is normally the first option in pain relief. Your doctor will recommend a type and amount of medicine depending on the type and intensity of your pain. If you experience mild discomfort, your doctor may advise you to begin taking an over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen (Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol). These medicines, which can be bought without a prescription, can help with mild bone and muscle discomfort, as well as general aches.

Mesothelioma care

If you have more severe issues, or if you experience breakthrough pain (moments of sharp pain), you may be given a prescription for opioids. Drugs, such as morphine or oxycodone, are stronger and can help relieve chronic or intense pain.
Be sure you completely understand the instructions and uses before you begin taking a new medication. Your doctor can answer any questions you may have about new prescriptions. Doctors can also suggest another medication if your current one is not helping you feel better.

Mesothelioma care

Pain Management Techniques

Your doctor may also suggest you try certain pain management techniques, many of which you can do in your own home. The techniques that may work for you depend on the type and severity of your discomfort. If you have minor aches, try taking a warm bath or placing a warm washcloth on the bothersome areas. If that doesn’t help, try using ice or cold packs on painful areas.

Mesothelioma care

You may also consider using alternative therapies. For example, muscular or superficial discomfort may be eased by a gentle massage, and acupuncture can help reduce inflammation.

Cognitive and behavioral techniques work for many cancer patients as well. These tend to focus on the mental aspects of pain.

Mesothelioma care

Options to try at home

Relaxation: Deep breathing and relaxing your muscles has helped control discomfort in some patients. In addition to relieving anxiety, these techniques reduce tension, thereby managing some of your pain.

Distraction: Changing the focus of your attention can temporarily relieve aches. This is especially helpful when you experience breakthrough pain or when you are waiting for medications to kick in.

Visualization: Visualize your discomfort as a symbol or object, such as a large fire. Then, visualize the pain diminishing. For example, imagine slowly putting out the flames with water.

Mesothelioma care

It is important to speak with your doctor before beginning new treatments, especially when your designed pain management program involves new medicine or potentially strenuous physical activity.

Mesothelioma care

Alternative Options

Some asbestos cancer patients may wish to avoid traditional treatment, even if it is considered palliative care. One of the most impactful decisions a cancer patient can make is electing to change their diet with the supervision of a dietitian. There have been numerous cases where patients have extended their survival by eating the right foods and integrating supplements or healthy lifestyle changes. One patient used slippery elm bark, vitamin C and other holistic treatments to live longer than his expected survival. Any cancer patient should consult a nutritionist before making changes to their diet.

Mesothelioma care

Patients can also benefit from a combination of traditional options and alternative treatments, such as undergoing a pleurodesis and making nutritional changes. Since difficulty breathing is often a symptom of mesothelioma, patients may be able to improve their breathing patterns through respiratory therapy, meditation and yoga.

Mesothelioma care

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