Researchers from all over the world are testing new drugs and procedures for mesothelioma. This deadly form of cancer affects over 2,500 people each year. Although mesothelioma survival rates are extremely low, scientists are dedicated to finding new and effective treatments. Many patients have qualified for clinical trials. These research studies evaluate the benefits, effectiveness, and potential side effects of new drugs. Some treatments have proven to be effective in reducing the symptoms associated with this disease.
The available treatment options for mesothelioma patients depend on a number of factors such as the type of cancer, location of the tumor, and patient's age. Mesothelioma therapy varies from one patient to another. Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are the main treatment options. Doctors use these treatments alone and in combination to reduce the symptoms and make the patient feel more comfortable.
If the cancer is detected in stage 1, doctors will recommend an extrapleural pneumonectomy or a pleuroctomy. This procedure is only offered to those who are diagnosed with mesothelioma in early stages of the disease. Surgeons will remove the affected lung and the diaphragm. This surgical procedure can extend the patient's life significantly. Most patients diagnosed with mesothelioma in stage 1 qualify for clinical trials.
When a patient is diagnosed with this rare form of cancer in stage 2 or 3, treatments options are limited. Doctors use radiation and/or chemotherapy to reduce chest pain and kill cancer cells. If the patient presents pleural effusion, doctors will remove the fluid through a medical procedure called paracentesis (abdomen) or thoracentesis (lungs).
If the cancer is detected in stage 4, doctors can only focus on keeping the patient as comfortable as possible. Treatment options include chemotherapy, radiation, and pain medications. Doctors may also recommend psychotherapy or counseling to help mesothelioma victims cope with this aggressive disease.
Mesothelioma patients have access to various clinical trials. These medical research studies involve the use of volunteers who test experimental drugs or therapies that are not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The medications used in clinical trials may have real benefits. Anyone interested in participating to clinical trials should consult his doctor and discuss the potential benefits and risks.
Each clinical trial has different eligibility requirements. Some research studies require that the patient have no prior treatment. Mesothelioma patients who participate in clinical trials have access to cutting-edge treatments and revolutionary drugs. When handled by professional staff, clinical trials are safe and provide new treatment options for those diagnosed with cancer.
Clinical trials are usually divided into several phases. In phase 1, they require a small number of volunteers to evaluate the correct dosage and side effects of a specific drug or procedure. In phase 2, clinical trials test the same treatment on a larger group of people in order to determine its effectiveness. Phase 3 trials are conducted on large groups of people. Their main goal is to compare the emerging treatment methods with the standard treatments options.
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