In this article, we will see the treatment procedures for a person when he or she has been diagnosed as suffering from lung mesothelioma.
The doctor usually looks inside the lung cavity using a special thoracoscope. A cut is made in the chest well and the instrument is inserted into the chest between the two ribs. This procedure is called as thoracoscopy. A local anesthetic is administered to these patients. There is usually no pain experienced, but some pressure can be felt by the patient.
If the doctor finds abnormal tissue growths, then the doctor cuts out some tissue pieces. These are then looked under a microscope to see the growth of possible cancer cells. This procedure is known as biopsy. Biopsy is common procedure in all forms of cancer, and not restricted to lung mesothelioma.
The treatment for lung mesothelioma can take three forms.
The first treatment mode is surgery. This is the most common treatment procedure. The doctor removes part of the lung linings and the surrounding tissues. A lung itself may also be removed – this process is known as pneumonectomy. Sometimes a part of the diaphragm, which is a muscle below the lungs, can also be removed.
The second treatment mode is through radiation. This therapy uses high-energy X-rays to kill the cancer cells. The source of radiation can be external or internal. When the radiation comes from a machine it is known as external radiation therapy. If radio-isotopes generating radiation are put through thin plastic tubes in the lungs, then it is called as internal radiation therapy.
If some fluid has collected in the lungs, affecting the breathing process, the doctor can choose to drain out the fluid by using a needle to poke into the chest. Then suction can be employed to remove the fluid. The process of removal of fluid from the chest is known as thoracentesis. The doctor may put some drugs through a tube into the lungs to prevent accumulation of further fluids.
The third mode of treatment for lung mesothelioma is chemotherapy. Chemotherapy involves taking pills that tend to kill cancer cells (oral chemotherapy). In intravenous chemotherapy, drugs are injected into the body. Drugs may be put directly into the lungs (intrapleural chemotherapy).
A new type of treatment known as intraoperative photodynamic therapy is also available. It uses special drugs and special light to kill cancerous cells during surgery. A chemical that causes the cancer cells to become more sensitive to light is injected several days before the surgery. During the surgery itself, special light is shown on the pleura and the lungs. This new treatment is being studied for treating several types of mesothelioma, including the lung mesothelioma.
Malignant lung mesothelioma may be recurrent in many cicumstances. The mesothelioma may come back even after repeated treatments of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. In such cases, the treatments need to be gone through again. There is no other option until the newer forms of treatments being tested begin to produce at least some results.