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Mesothelioma Help Center - Mesothelioma Articles 1005

Mesothelioma Lawyer - Article - Mesothelioma Treatment 101

Posted on Jan 26, 2006 | Juiceenewsdaily.com

Mesothelioma Treatment 101

Treatment of MM using conventional therapies has not proved successful and patients have a median survival time of 6 - 12 months after presentation. The clinical behaviour of the malignancy is affected by several factors including the continuous mesothelial surface of the pleural cavity which favours local metastasis via exfoliated cells, invasion to underlying tissue and other organs within the pleural cavity, and the extremely long latency period between asbestos exposure and development of the disease.

Surgery:
Surgery, either by itself or used in combination with pre- and post-operative adjuvant therapies has proved disappointing with a 5 year survival rate of less than 10%.

Radiation:
Although the tumour is highly resistant to radiotherapy and chemotherapy, these regimens are sometimes used to relieve symptoms arising from tumour metastases such as obstruction of a major blood vessel.

Chemotherapy:
In February 2004, the Food and Drug Administration approved pemetrexed (brand name Alimta) for treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma.

Immunotherapy:
Treatment regimens involving immunotherapy have yielded variable results. For example, intrapleural inoculation of Bacillus Calmette-Gu ? rin (BCG) in an attempt to boost the immune response, was found to be of no benefit to the patient (while it may benefit patients with bladder cancer). Mesothelioma cells proved susceptible to in vitro lysis by LAK cells following activation by interleukin-2 (IL-2), but patients undergoing this particular therapy experienced major side effects. Indeed, this trial was suspended in view of the unacceptably high levels of IL-2 toxicity and the severity of side effects such as fever and cachexia. Nonetheless, other trials involving interferon alpha have proved more encouraging with 20% of patients experiencing a greater than 50% reduction in tumour mass combined with minimal side effects.

Heated Intraoperative Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy:
A procedure known as heated intraoperative intraperitoneal chemotherapy was developed by Paul Sugarbaker at the Washington Cancer Institute. The surgeon removes as much of the tumor as possible followed by the direct administration of a chemotherapy agent, heated to between 40 and 48 ? C, in the abdomen. The fluid is perfused for 60 to 120 minutes and then drained. This technique permits the administration of high concentrations of selected drugs into the abdominal and pelvic surfaces. Heating the chemotherapy treatment can increases the penetration of the drugs into tissues, but it also has by itself an anti-tumor effect since the damage produced by heat is greater to cancerous cells than to normal cells.

Research:
Because mesothelioma is very hard to control, the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) is sponsoring clinical trials that are designed to find new treatments and better ways to use current treatments. Before any new treatment can be recommended for general use, doctors conduct clinical trials to find out whether the treatment is safe for patients and effective against the disease. Participation in clinical trials is an important treatment option for many patients with mesothelioma.

Legal issues:
In the United States, the average mesothelioma-related settlement was $1 million; for cases that go to trial awards averaged $6 million, according to a study by the RAND Corporation. Only a small fraction of the thousands of asbestos-related lawsuits in the United States every year are related to mesothelioma. In 2004, a bill in the United States Senate aimed a asbestos litigation reform failed to reach a floor vote. In January of 2005, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter announced he would again try to pass an asbestos litigation reform bill.

A separate bill introduced on March 17, 2005 , the Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution Act of 2005 (FAIR act of 2005), seeks to ensure a set amount of compensation dependent on the symptoms of the victim. The range is from Medical Monitoring for victims with Asbestosis or Pleural Disease to $35,000 for victims with Mixed Disease With Impairment all the way to over $1,000,000 for Mesothelioma victims and nonsmoking Lung Cancer victims. "FAIR act of 2005, full text". FAIR act of 2005, full text. URL accessed on April 13, 2005 .

History:
An article published by Wagner et al in 1960 first established mesothelioma as a disease arising from exposure to crocidolite asbestos. The article referred to over 30 case studies of people who had suffered from mesothelioma in South Africa . Some exposures were transient and some were mine workers.

In 1962 Dr McNulty reported the first diagnosed case of malignant mesothelioma in an Australian asbestos worker. The worker had worked in the mill at the asbestos mine in Wittenoom from 1948 to 1950.

In the town of Wittenoom , asbestos-containing mine waste was used to cover schoolyards and playgrounds. In 1965 an article in the British Journal of Industrial Medicine established that people who lived in the neighbourhoods of asbestos factories and mines, but did not work in them, had contracted mesothelioma.

Despite proof that the dust associated with asbestos mining and milling causes asbestos related disease, mining began at Wittenoom in 1943 and continued until 1966. It is difficult to understand why the mine and mill was allowed to initially open and operate without adequate risk control measures; and why nothing was done to force the owner (CSR) to clean them up, adopt safer work practices or close down their operations.

In 1974 the first public warnings of the dangers of blue asbestos were published in a cover story called "Is this Killer in Your Home?" in Australia 's Bulletin magazine. In 1978 the Western Australian Government decided to phase out the town of Wittenoom , following the publication of a Health Dept. booklet, "The Health Hazard at Wittenoom", containing the results of air sampling and an appraisal of worldwide medical information.

By 1979 the first writs for negligence related to Wittenoom were issued against CSR and its subsidiary ABA , and the Asbestos Diseases Society was formed to represent the Wittenoom victims.

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Mesothelioma Symptoms

The most common Mesothelioma symptoms are the following:

Recent onset of shortness of breath (31%)
Recent increase in shortness of breath (30%)
Chest pain (43%)
 
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