An article published in the Journal of Translational Medicine in May 2008, brought to light research that is being conducted by several Italian scientists, which exposes the possibility of treatment for mesothelioma cancer with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These drugs, NSAIDs, are anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs often found in small doses in common pain relieving over-the-counter drugs such as aspirin. Scientists used a combination of two of the NSAIDs, Piroxicam and cisplatin (CDDP), and found the results produced anti-tumoral activity within malignant mesothelioma cancer cells.
The research, considered by some to be breakthrough research for victims of mesothelioma cancer, will continue to be studied but the initial results highlighted a significant and positive trend toward cancer cell repression and prevention, particularly for malignant mesothelioma. Scientists with this study also found that the potential for determining a specific molecular target of mesothelioma cells, because of these drugs’ anti-tumor effects, could lead to advances in therapy treatments of the deadly cancer.
What is Malignant Mesothelioma Cancer?
There are several varieties of mesothelioma cancer, however, malignant mesothelioma is considered one of the most lethal. According to the study, “prognosis is poor and patients have a median survival of a few months in either treated or untreated cases.” Malignant mesothelioma is a rare cancer with malignant cancer cells forming on the sac lining of the chest or abdomen, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI). It is often associated with exposure to airborne asbestos particles and fibers, which increases the risk of malignant mesothelioma developing in an individual.
Signs and Symptoms of Malignant Mesothelioma
Malignant mesothelioma is often marked by several symptoms including lumps in abdomen, weight loss, pain or swelling in the abdomen, pain under the rib cage and difficulties breathing. The cancer can also often cause fluid retention in the abdomen or around the lungs. The cancer often has symptoms similar to other conditions making misdiagnosis of the condition common.
Medical professionals have even admitted that malignant mesothelioma and lung cancer are very similar and differentiating between the two is difficult, however, there is an array of tests that physicians can use to increase the potential for a more accurate diagnosis. Tests for diagnosis may include the patient enduring physical exams, chest x-rays, biopsy of body tissues, getting a complete blood count (CBC), cytologic exam, which is an exam of cells under a microscope, or a bronchoscopy procedure where a bronchoscope is inserted into the nose or mouth for a better view of airways.
Diagnosing and Treating Malignant Mesothelioma
While treatments for mesothelioma are rare in and of themselves, it becomes increasingly difficult to treat malignant mesothelioma because of the severity of the condition. However, medical professionals take into consideration several factors prior to treatment to determine a patient’s prognosis. The following is a detailed list of these factors, according to the NCI:
* The stage of cancer, which includes stage I or localized malignant mesothelioma or advanced malignant mesothelioma that includes stage II, stage III and stage IV.
* The size of a tumor.
* Potential for tumor removal through a surgical procedure.
* The amount of fluid gathered in the chest or abdomen.
* A victim’s age, physical health and previous health issues.
* Type of mesothelioma cancer.
* Whether a cancer is reoccurring or just recently diagnosed.
Additionally, a doctor will likely look at whether or not the cancer has spread to other various parts of the body and the most common ways that the cancer spreads are through bodily tissues, the lymph system or through veins and capillaries within the blood stream.
Treatments for malignant mesothelioma can range from surgery to therapy, including chemotherapy and biological therapy to clinical trials, although the outcome is based on the progression of the cancer and most often, individuals are not aware of their condition until it reaches an advanced and, usually, an untreatable stage.
Asbestos Exposure and What to Do
Asbestos is a mineral fiber that was used heavily in a range of building materials from vinyl flooring to insulation. It was prized for its inexpensive production costs and fire-retardant ability making it ideal among construction companies. However, it was discovered that inhaling elevated concentrations of airborne asbestos contributed to the development of mesothelioma cancer.
Unfortunately, this discovery came far too late, as millions of Americans working in the industry were exposed and millions more continue to remain at risk for exposure as asbestos still exists in homes, schools, apartment complexes and dozens of other types of buildings across the country. Individuals who believe they may have been exposed to asbestos particles and fibers should seek medical attention as soon as possible. If mesothelioma is the outcome it is advisable for a patient to receive consultation from an experienced mesothelioma attorney, as the potential for a mesothelioma lawsuit may exist with the opportunity for monetary compensation.