New Mesothelioma Treatment

New Mesothelioma Treatment
By Sandra Oertell, Guest Editor

You will find more than one new mesothelioma treatment being considered for those with the disease. The mesomark blood test was approved by the FDA in 2007. What it does is to monitor a patient’s responses to treatment for bi-phasic and epithelial mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma cells release a particular protein into the blood (this is called a biomarker). This blood test measures the amount of that protein in your blood, making it possible to assess your progress. However, this new treatment for mesothelioma has not yet proven to be an accurate test to aid in early diagnosis. A way to discover this cancer in a timely fashion is urgently needed.

As with all new treatments, a patient has to qualify for the Mesomark test, and this may or may not be covered by insurance. If you qualify you will be required to give a number of blood samples, which will be sent for testing to a national laboratory. Make sure there are no surprises regarding out of pocket fees.

There are several types of radiotherapy. Radiation uses high energy beams to treat the cancer, and it may be used palliatively in an attempt to control symptoms, or aggressively, as a follow up to surgery. IMRT (Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy) uses X-rays of different intensities, hitting cancer cells directly at high power, and reducing the radiation to healthy tissue. Tomotherapy is a new mesothelioma treatment that delivers the radiation in slices, rather than radiating the entire tumor at one time.

Angiogenesis and anti-angiogenesis drugs are new drugs that target the cancerous tumor directly, without harming the normal cells in the body. It is hoped that these drugs will stop the growth of blood vessels to the malignant tumors…in effect, starving them. The research is ongoing, and scientists are looking at both synthetic and natural inhibitors. Most of these drugs can only be gotten by participating in a clinical trial.

A lot of progress has been made in early detection and treatment of a number of different cancers, but mesothelioma is not one of them. Because it is so difficult to detect, it is almost never found in the early stages, and can, in fact, not be discovered for twenty to fifty years, at which point, treatment will give the patient additional months at best. That is why new mesothelioma treatments are so urgently needed…more to find methods of early detection than to actually find a cure.

To learn more about new mesothelioma treatments available, check out the newly updated book, and the new 100 Questions and Answers About MesotheliomaMesothelioma Clinical Trials available.

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