Cancers arise when the cells rapidly divide without the control of the normal body regulatory mechanisms. Mesothelioma is one form of cancer that is linked to inhalation of asbestos particles. The treatment of cancers, with mesothelioma in focus here, aims to limit the spread of the cancer and shrink the existing tumor.
Mesothelioma is a problem because it leads to tissue and organ damage
If the resulting tumor from the rapid division of cells is allowed unchecked, it can expand and block off blood vessels. We all know that the flow of blood in the body is necessary because nutrients and oxygen are carried in the blood to different organs of the body. If organs and tissues are starved of oxygen and nutrients, a serious medical condition may result. For example, if the brain is starved of oxygen, stroke will result.
Cancer treatments are not done in isolation
There are various drugs that have been formulated over the years to combat the spread of cancer and limit the growth of the resulting tumor. Administration of these drugs is often combined with other therapies such as surgery and radiation for a better and expedited result. This combination is called multimodal therapy and has been found to produce better result.
Medicines are grouped into categories based on how they work
Different medication affects the cancer in different way – although all of them strive to achieve the same goal which is to shrink the tumor and limit the spread of the cancer. Based on these, cancer therapies are categorized into targeted therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, anti-angiogenesis and photosensitizing. Some of these drugs are already in use while others are still in the testing and may become usable in the nearest future.
Chemotherapy has been in use for a long time
Of all the different therapies that have been developed or still in development, chemotherapy is by far the oldest of them all and a number of chemotherapy drugs are available in the market. The work of chemotherapeutic agent is to attack actively and rapidly dividing cells. Its use has not been smooth for all patients because of side effects but it is still considered one of the best forms of therapy.
Chemotherapeutic agents are used in stages
Chemotherapeutic agents are often used in combinations i.e. different chemotherapeutic drugs are used together. There are combinations that are considered suitable for first line of action. If they fail or are not properly tolerated by the host, the second and third line of defense (also combinations) are used.
Chemotherapeutic drugs are synthetic
Not all the chemotherapeutic agents are synthetic but majority of them are. A few of them are semisynthetic meaning that part of the drug is extracted from nature particularly the flowering plant called periwinkle while the other half is produced in the lab.
Chemotherapy side effects vary with patients
The common side effects associated with use of chemotherapeutic drugs are hair loss, bruising, bleeding, fatigue and impaired vision or hearing. The drugs are powerful enough to disrupt digestion and some patients may report stomach pain, vomiting, nausea and their stool become dark.
Targeted therapy affects only cancerous cells
Chemotherapy is non-discriminating and kills both healthy and cancerous cells. A modification of this is the targeted therapy which attacks only cancerous cells.Targeted therapy targets specific molecular alterations that cause the development, growth, metastasis and death of cancer.
Immunotherapy focuses on the patient’s immune system
While the first two mentioned therapies focus on the cancer cells, immunotherapy aims to boostthe immune system of the victim to enable them better fight the cancerous cells.
- Cancer cells divide uncontrollably.
- Growth of cancer tumor can block important arteries and veins.
- Chemotherapy is one of the foremost treatment plans for cancer.
- Mesothelioma is an asbestos linked cancer.
- Mesothelioma results when asbestos particles are inhaled and they accumulate in the lungs and chest cavity.
- Cancer drugs are grouped depending on how they act.
- Immunotherapy focuses on improving the immune system of the patient.
- Chemotherapy drugs for mesothelioma can be synthetic or semisynthetic.
- Treatment of cancer often involves the combination of therapies.
- The use of chemotherapy is hampered by side effects and its indiscriminate killing of cells.
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