“Having peritoneal mesothelioma was a journey for me,” says Tamron Little who was only 21 and pregnant when she was first diagnosed with cancer. As with all the other forms of cancer, mesothelioma patients have to adjust to the tragic news of diagnosis at some point.
Cancer remission can get our hopes up for the future, but even good news should be taken with a little more grain of salt when it comes to cancer.
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer. Its tumor is formed when asbestos fibers lodge inside the linings of the lungs, heart or abdomen. Asbestos is a combination of minerals that is resistant to heat, fire and other chemicals.
There are four different types of mesothelioma cancers depending on the tumor’s location in the body: pleural mesothelioma affects the lungs and is the most common type; peritoneal mesothelioma is the second-most common and affects the abdomen; pericardial mesothelioma is very rare and its tumor forms in the lining of the heart; and Testicular mesothelioma, which develops in the testicles and has a higher life expectancy than the other forms.
Apart from the deteriorating health of the patient and the diminishing hope for survival, mesothelioma patients—and their families—are also overburdened with the medical bills from the treatments pursued.
Many states have strict regulations in place against asbestos-handling or the use of it in industries and buildings, including the state of Florida. The sunshine state of Florida doesn’t have any asbestos mines of its own, but the state witnessed burgeoning constructions in the last century, which brought a lot of asbestos-containing construction material to Florida.
So if you are in Florida and have, or any one in your family has, contracted the mesothelioma cancer, you should place a call to a Florida mesothelioma lawyer, who might help you with getting compensated through an asbestos claim.
What You Need to Know About Mesothelioma Remission
Mesothelioma remission can be a hallmark moment for the patients as it provides them with emotional as well as physical relief. Remission is the end goal of any cancer treatment and is achieved when the cancer tumor is eliminated along with the symptomatic cancer signs.
Officially, remission is defined as the absence of tumors under CT scans and other imaging scans. The absence of the symptoms, however, does not ensure that the cancerous cells have been completely cleared from the body.
They might still live on, albeit microscopically, but the imaging methods would reveal no signs of them.
Types of Remissions
There are two types of mesothelioma remissions:
A complete remission implies a full elimination of the cancerous growth and symptoms. A full remission is rare but nevertheless still possible.
It’s important to understand that even after the cancer’s remission, the patient can still be diagnosed with cancer. This is because the cancerous cells remain in the body without showing symptoms.
This is primarily the reason doctors use the word ‘remission’ instead of calling the patient to have been cured at the end of the cancer treatment plan.
A partial remission is said to have been achieved when the cancerous cells remain and do show symptoms, albeit to a lesser extent.
Even a partial remission is good news for the patient’s health and improves his/her life expectancy. However, if the post-remission medical protocols are not followed, this small victory can turn sour pretty soon, and the cancer might make a comeback.
Recurrence, on the other hand, is when the tumors make a comeback after remission. To avoid this from happening, the patients have to schedule regular follow-up appointments with their doctors.
Recurrence Types in Mesothelioma Cancer
There are 3 different types of mesothelioma recurrence.
a) Local recurrence; (b) Regional recurrence; and (c) Distant recurrence
Local recurrence is when the cancerous tumors reappear at their original or close to the original spot.
Regional recurrence show tumors in the tissues or the lymph close to where the cancer was previously diagnosed.
Distant recurrence happens when the location of the cancer’s reappearance is distant from its original point of diagnosis. As far as mesothelioma recurrence types go, this one is the most uncommon of the three.
Treatment Plans for Mesothelioma
Since mesothelioma affects every patient differently, there isn’t a universal treatment plan that can be applied on all. Surgery is the best option for patients diagnosed with stage 1 or stage-2 mesothelioma.
Let’s explore some of the common treatment plans below:
All visible cancerous cells can be removed during a surgery. Surgery when supplemented with chemotherapy or radiation therapy can help stave off cancer recurrence.
Multimodal therapy is best for patients diagnosed with early-stage mesothelioma. This treatment method used in combination with other treatment options, like surgery, chemotherapy, etc. can help you achieve remission.
Immunotherapy and Gene Therapy
Some new treatments that have shown favorable results for fighting cancers include immunotherapy and gene therapy, where the immune systems of the patients are improved or the genetic composition of the cells is altered to make them stronger against cancer cells.
At the cutting edge of the fight against cancer, and especially mesothelioma cancer, lies the angiogenesis therapy, which seeks to prevent the formation of blood vessels in the tumors, thereby, restricting its potential to spread.
Taking daily care of your health is crucial when it comes to improving quality of life and protecting oneself from terminal diseases, like mesothelioma.
A balanced and nutritious diet maintained alongside physical activity can not only offer greater protection against diseases but also result in low levels of stress and better sleep.
Since mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that has a greater chance of being misdiagnosed, it’s imperative that you go for regular checkups. Your ability to achieve remission is also dependent on the stage at which the mesothelioma is diagnosed; a person diagnosed in the early stages stands a better chance of accomplishing remission than a person who was diagnosed at a later stage.