Friday, February 15, 2008

mesothelioma treatment by chemotherapy

Current info about mesothelioma treatment by chemotherapy is not always the easiest thing to locate. Fortunately, this report includes the latest mesothelioma treatment by chemotherapy info available.

It seems like new information is discovered about something every day. And the topic of mesothelioma treatment by chemotherapy is no exception. Keep reading to get more fresh news about mesothelioma treatment by chemotherapy .

While the recommended treatment for mesothelioma will no doubt vary from patient to patient and doctor to doctor, the form of cancer treatment most widely suggested is chemotherapy.

Dealing with the idea of chemotherapy can be equally as frightening as the initial diagnosis of mesothelioma. Chemo conjures up thoughts of treatments that cause horrible side affects and often leave the patient feeling worse than if they had no treatments at all. However, because advances in chemotherapy drugs and medications to lessen the side affects have decreased some of the unpleasant effects of chemo, patients should remain open to the idea of undergoing this type of treatment and should listen with an open mind.
How Does Chemotherapy Help?

Quite simply, chemotherapy - treatment with a specific cancer drug or combination of drugs - kills cancer cells. Unlike surgery and radiation therapy, which can destroy cancer cells in one particular location, chemotherapy can be used to destroy cells that have metastasized - or spread to other parts of the body.

There are currently about 100 chemotherapy drugs on the market. Though single chemo drugs are sometimes used to treat a particular type of cancer, more often a few of these drugs are used in tandem. This is called combination chemotherapy. Some combinations have proved more helpful than others in fighting mesothelioma and its troublesome symptoms. Because all of these drugs work a bit differently, your oncologist will determine which are best suited to treating your disease. The doctor will also be able to determine the length of your course of treatment as well as the frequency of treatments.
Types of Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is received either by means of a pill or intravenously via a needle in the vein. Chemotherapy drugs may be administered 1) systemically - which means that the drugs are carried through the blood stream; or 2) intrapleurally - injected directly into the site of the tumor, with in the case of mesothelioma is usually the pleura, the lining of the lung. Doctors have had some success with both methods.
Chemo and Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a very aggressive form of cancer, so doctors treat it as aggressively as possible. That includes the use of highly toxic chemo drugs that will, hopefully, help destroy cancer cells while also providing some relief from the bothersome side affects of the disease, such as coughing, shortness of breath, and chest pain.

Years ago, doctors opted for single chemotherapy treatments for the disease. Unfortunately, they yielded little more than approximately a 15% success rate, providing minimal relief to the mesothelioma patient. More recently, oncologists and research scientists have determined that the best way to fight mesothelioma is through combination chemotherapy.

Currently, the drugs of choice are a newer drug, Alimta (pemetrexed), combined with Cisplatin, which has been on the market for some time. As a matter of fact, Alimta, when given with cisplatin, is the first and only chemotherapy drug to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma when surgery is not an option.

Other common chemotherapy drugs used to treat mesothelioma include gemcitabine, vinorelbine, and onconase. Researchers continue to experiment with new drugs and new combinations of chemotherapy medications in hopes that they can find the best available to treat the disease and its symptoms.
What to Expect

Chemotherapy is not a miracle drug, especially where mesothelioma is concerned, so it's necessary to be patient when dealing with the treatment. Most patients receiving chemotherapy for the first time will be especially concerned about side effects. Different chemo drugs have different side effects, but your doctor should be able to tell you what to expect.

Because your doctor has experience with specific chemo drugs, he/she may also be able to tell you when to expect the side effects, how long they'll last, and what to do about them. These days, there are many options available to help minimize or avoid these side effects so the chemotherapy of today is much different than that of decades or even years ago. Remember, also, that most of these side effects will disappear when the treatment has ended.

The most common chemotherapy side effects include:

* Nausea
* Vomiting
* Low white blood cell count (which leaves you prone to infection)
* Loss of appetite
* Constipation
* Fatigue
* Fever and chills
* Low platelet count (which may cause problems with clotting)
* Generalized achy-ness
* Tingling hands and feet
* Rash
* Depression

It's important to tell your doctor about any side effects you might experience, even if they are noted as "common" side effects of your chemotherapy. High fever, inability to eat or drink, blood in the stool or urine, and signs of infection should be addressed immediately. Your doctor will inform you about other side effects which he/she considers life-threatening.

Chemotherapy Drugs & Fact Sheets

* Alimta
* Carboplatin
* Cisplatin
* Gemcitabine
* Navelbine
* Onconase

I hope that reading the above information was educational for you. Your learning process should be ongoing--the more you understand about any subject, the more you will be able to share with others.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

mesothelioma survival story

It's really a good idea to probe a little deeper into the subject of mesothelioma survival story. What you learn may give you the confidence to survive against mesothelioma.

People with mesothelioma need to hear about success stories—about others who have survived mesothelioma and other forms cancer. In addition, they deserve to know that there are things that they can do that will affect their disease in a positive manner. And finally, people with mesothelioma need to learn how to laugh and how to foster the will to live.Below you will find stories of hope written by patients of this deadly disease Mesothelioma

Name: Jane Doe
Age: 58
Occupation: Housewife
Diagnosis Date: May 2004
Current Condition: Alive
The day started out like any other day. I was planning on going out to lunch with two of my long-time friends and then spending the afternoon with my daughter and my three beautiful grandchildren.

I noticed what a beautiful sunny day it was as I drove to my primary care doctor to discuss a reoccurring cough that I had had for the past few months. Previous doctor’s visits had not resulted in any diagnosis; but when my doctor’s office called the previous day, they said I should go in to the office to discuss the next step.

When I left the office only 45 minutes later, I realized my life was changed forever. I had been given the devastating news that I had mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer that is currently untreatable.

Looking back on that day, I was in shock. I don’t remember driving home, or how my friends knew enough to come over.

How could this be happening to me?

I have always been a healthy, active woman. Other than losing my husband to lung cancer 4 years ago, I have always had a pretty blessed life. Telling my kids was the hardest part. Knowing that I wouldn’t be around to watch my precious grandchildren grow up, or to see my youngest son get married, was unbearable.

I was about to begin the last chapter of my life... A chapter that no one could ever be prepared to face.

After living in a state of shock, anger, and then followed by severe depression for a few weeks, I began to ‘come out of the fog’. I realized that yes, my life was going to be much shorter than I had anticipated, but I was still alive. I began to seek out support groups for people with terminal illness. This was a tremendous help for me.

It didn’t make having mesothelioma any easier. That part still felt as if I was living a nightmare. What the support group did do was to help me feel like I am not the only person to go through such a horrible experience.

By sharing our stories and our sources of comfort and hope, I felt a sense of being more at peace with things.

One question that I can’t get out of my head is how?

I have always been healthy, active, never smoked…
Where did this horrible disease come from?

It has been concluded that the cause of my disease was 25 years of my husband working as a carpenter and coming home with dust-filled clothes. I always assumed it was drywall dust; in-fact, it was asbestos…

Being the home-maker I was, I routinely did laundry for the family several times a week. Apparently this simple, mundane task that seemed so harmless for all those years, was like breathing in deadly air in the mistaken ‘safety’ of my own home.

The hardest part of this whole illness isn’t all of the pain and suffering that quickly comes along, nor is it the endless doctors appointments, and losing your sense of independence. The worst part of mesothelioma is how quickly the disease progresses and how little time that leaves you with family and loved ones.

I just can’t imagine not being here with them on holidays, and for all of the daily nuances of life. I still struggle with this each and every day, and try to be thankful for every minute I am on this earth with the people I love.

I have some comfort in knowing that when my time comes, I will be able to be with my husband once again, hopefully watching over my family like a guardian angel, to make sure they are never working in an environment that years later could kill them or their own family.

There's a lot to understand about mesothelioma survival story. We were able to provide you with some of the facts above, but there is still plenty more to write about in subsequent articles.