Pericardial Mesothelioma Treatment is done primarily with Palliative therapy, though surgery and radiation therapy are still used options.
Pericardial mesothelioma, a cancer that attacks the membranous lining surrounding the heart, is one of the least common forms of mesothelioma, affecting only about 5 percent of all mesothelioma patients. In this form of the disease, the cells of the pericardium are penetrated by microscopic asbestos fibers, which change the cells’ DNA. This leads to scarring and the growth of malignant tumors.
By the time a definite diagnosis is achieved, pericardial mesothelioma has often advanced to a late stage, at which point treatment may not be as effective or even possible. If the patient wishes to begin treatment, it must begin very quickly following the diagnosis.
Some treatment options are surgery, radiation therapy, and palliative therapy. The majority of pericardial mesothelioma patients are diagnosed at a point when surgery is no longer a possibility, due to advanced development of the disease. The remaining treatment options then are generally used more to fight the cancer’s symptoms and make the patient comfortable. Palliative therapy, as a result, is the most common approach to treatment.
However, if surgery is a reasonable option, small tumors that have not spread to the chest wall, lymph nodes, or lungs may be removed during Pericardial Mesothelioma Treatment. This is a very delicate and dangerous procedure due to the fragile nature of the heart and its proximity to the tumors. For patients who do well with the procedure, much of the cancerous tumors can be removed successfully.
When that method is not available, palliative therapy for Pericardial Mesothelioma Treatment via fine needle aspiration might be. In this case, excess fluid in the pericardium may be removed through the needle, decreasing strain on the heart. It may be a standalone procedure or coupled with radiation, which can be used to reduce the size of tumors and kill cancer cells. The downfall of radiation is that it may damage the very organs it is meant to save – the heart and lungs.
Chemotherapy may also be used to shrink tumors or to slow their growth. Some patients, however, feel that chemotherapy’s side effects will take too great a toll on their general health and well-being. Consequently, they opt not to pursue this form of Pericardial Mesothelioma Treatment.
Still others decide not to use any of these routes. Rather, many individuals turn to alternative treatments such as nutritional supplements or herbs, acupuncture, massage therapy, hypnosis, and meditation to alleviate their symptoms and help them enjoy their remaining time.
Because life expectancy post-diagnosis is relatively short, pericardial mesothelioma patients won’t likely benefit from treatments currently being researched. However, future patients may be treated with some promising new therapies, including immunotherapy, photodynamic therapy, intensity modulated radiation, and gene therapy. It is hoped that one of these treatments will save these patients, increasing their life expectancy and providing as much comfort and quality of life as possible.