Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that affects the lung, heart, or stomach lining caused by asbestos particles. Since the disease has a latency phase, symptoms may not show for decades. Patients in New Orleans, Louisiana, have a few treatment options based on the stage of the disease.
Stage 1 and II
Staging refers to how far the tumor has spread outside the lining from the onset of the disease. The doctor may conduct several tests to find out how far the tumor has spread, including CR scan, PET scan, MRI and endoscopy.
Patients diagnosed at Stage I or Stage II commonly undergo multimodal treatment options including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Surgery at Stage I and II commonly has a survival rate of 20-22 months after surgery. The doctor could also prescribe pain medications to manage pain or perform pleurodesis to remove fluid from the lungs.
Stage 1 tumors commonly respond more effectively to treatment, since they are localized. Stage II patients could still qualify for curative treatments to prolong life.
Stage III and IV
In Stage III, the diseases has likely spread to other organs, but some patients could still benefit from surgery. Patients who don’t qualify for surgery commonly undergo chemotherapy. Patients who have not undergone treatment may be able to participate in clinical trials to test new treatments.
In Stage IV, the cancer has commonly spread to vital organs, such as the brain or liver. At this stage, surgery won’t likely be effective, but it may be used to reduce symptoms. Patients mostly undergo palliative care and chemotherapy, and they may qualify for clinical trials.
Mesothelioma can come from exposure in various occupations, such as plumbing and shipbuilding, or from second-hand exposure. The patient may seek damages from responsible employers who they feel exposed them to asbestos, but they will need a good defense team.