There are many different types of therapy available for people who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. However, the most frequently used treatments are a combination of radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy for Mesothelioma
Although chemotherapy is commonly used to treat mesothelioma, success rates vary greatly depending on the health of the patient and their ability to tolerate chemotherapy treatment.
Chemotherapy medications work by targeting rapidly-dividing cancer cells, but in the process, healthy cells are destroyed as well. There are many side effects to chemotherapy, including hair loss, appetite loss, vomiting and nausea, and a decreased immune system.
A patient should always discuss options for chemotherapy with their cancer doctor. Which type of chemotherapy is best depends on what type of mesothelioma the patient has, how far advanced it is, and other treatments that are being used.
What Types of Chemotherapy Are Available?
Chemotherapy for mesothelioma can be administered two different ways, either orally or intravenously. The most common drugs used include:
Deciding which medication to use – as well as exploring newer chemotherapies, such as heated chemo – should be thoroughly discussed between the patient and the doctor.
Can Mesothelioma Be Cured with Chemotherapy?
There is no cure for mesothelioma, and eventually the disease is fatal. However, since chemotherapy works to control the growth of cancer, it may relieve symptoms for quite some time. This can improve the patient's quality of life and, when used in conjunction with other treatment methods, the patient's life span can be increased as well.
Common Side Effects Due to Mesothelioma Chemotherapy
The exact side effects that you can expect to face as a result of chemotherapy for mesothelioma differ between individuals. Additionally, some patients experience side effects from both the development of the cancer as well as from chemotherapy treatment. The reason behind these side effects is that while often successful at killing cancer cells, chemotherapy is particularly toxic for a person's body.
Some side effects associated with chemotherapy are much more severe than others. One of the most common side effects is “chemo brain,” which results in difficulty recalling details or performing other cognitive functions. Nausea is also particularly common. While some people vomit in response, this is not true among all chemotherapy patients.
Based on the side effects that a person faces, a physician might recommend a treatment plan. For example, some people discover that they are able to address side effects like nausea and vomiting by altering their diet.
To address some side effects, medical professionals will provide patients with prescription medications. One commonly prescribed medication is an antiemetic to reduce nausea. Medications like medroxyprogesterone might be prescribed to help patients gain weight. Additionally, sleep medication might be necessary.
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