Question 1: What is mesothelioma and why does it occur?
Mesothelioma is a very common disease in some countries. While the incidence is 1-2 in 1 million people in the world, 500 people are newly diagnosed in growing countries. The cause of the disease is the unconscious use of asbestos, which is popularly known as white soil, barren soil, celestial soil, delph, scourge or ceren soil.
Asbestos is used for whitewashing houses in villages or as a substitute for powder in young children, while in some areas babies are surrounded by heated asbestos, known as scourge. This leads to mesothelioma and respiratory disorders of these babies.
Asbestos exposure is also seen in various occupations. Interestingly, the signs and symptoms of mesothelioma may occur within 20 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos.
Question 2: What are the symptoms of mesothelioma and how is it diagnosed?
Mesothelioma is a disease usually presenting with accumulation of fluid in the chest cavity and the most common symptoms are chest pain and progressive shortness of breath.
In addition, cough, blood loss from the mouth, weight loss, loss of appetite, fatigue are also seen.
Screenings For Mesothelioma
The patient is initially taken with chest x-ray and tomography but the standard method for definitive diagnosis is biopsy. First, samples are collected from the fluid accumulated in the lung and sent to pathology for examination.
If the diagnosis cannot be made with the result, biopsy of the membrane is performed. Biopsy can be performed by needle or by surgical method. It is also applied to patients with PET-CT, ultrasonography and MRI to investigate the spread of cancer.
Question 3: How Is Mesothelioma Treated?
The biopsy result and the stage of the disease are the mainstay of treatment. There are 3 types of mesothelioma. Only the epithelial type has a surgical chance. In sarcomatoid and mixed types, the patient is referred to chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
When staging is done, mesotheliomas are divided into 4 stages, and only very early stage patients with stage 1 or 2 have the chance of surgical treatment. Unfortunately, since the disease develops insidiously over the years and symptoms begins to show late, the disease usually diagnosed in in very advanced stages.
Open And Closed Surgery Methods In Mesothelioma Treatment
The surgeon decides the type of surgery according to the patient’s diagnoses. There are various surgical techniques ranging from complete removal of the lung, diaphragm, and cardiac membrane to peeling of the lung membranes alone or removing only the tumor portion in a confined space.
Chemoradiotherapy Treatment in Mesothelioma Treatment
Chemoradiotherapy is applied in patients who are not suitable for surgery. This patients are with tumor spread to other organs. Chemotherapy is not as successful as other tumors because of the poor blood supply in these types of tumors but more successful results have been started with the constantly renewed protocols.
The success of radiotherapy remains limited as the disease is very wide and there are vital organs that can be damaged. So the amount of radiation that can be delivered is limited which also limits the success of the treatment.
Sometimes the patient is only given procedures to reduce shortness of breath and pain. Often, fluid is collected in the lungs of these patients and these fluids are discharged by wearing a chest tube and pleurodesis is performed to prevent re-collection.
Low-dose chemoradiotherapy treatment. In this method the aim is to extend the patient’s life span and to ensure a quality life as much as possible.
How is Mesothelioma Diagnosed?
- Lung is filled with fluid and seen in the x-ray film. Thickening of the lung membrane and nodules or masses are commonly observed. Computed tomography (CT) is effective in determining the extent of the disease.
- Thickening of the membrane in %92 of patients and fluid is seen in %74 of the patients. Magnetic resonance imaging plays an important role in the diagnosis of this disease.
- Ultrasound guided biopsy also helps clarify the diagnosis. In addition open biopsy gives much more assured results.
The lung membrane is a sensitive area and is rich in nerves. There is a membrane on a lung and there is also a membrane covering the inside of the rib cage.
Normally fluid is supplied and taken. But in lung disease, fluid given but cannot be recovered more or less. If the fluid in lung is not taken the fluid accumulates and pressures the lung and the pain arises. If a small change in the lung membrane is seen in the patient the tomography should be performed.
How is Mesothelioma Treated?
There are 3 types of malignant mesothelioma. 1 and 3 are usually able to operate, but there is no surgery option for type 2. In the past, the whole lung, heart membrane, abdominal membrane was removed in these surgeries and the chest was completely drained. Mesothelioma treatment is performed in 3 stages and normally the patient has to go through all three stages.
- Surgical treatment
- Drug treatment
- Radiation therapy
These are done by changing the order depends on the patient. If one is incomplete, the treatment is interrupted. Patients may survive from mesothelioma and the main goal should be protection rather than fear of cancer.
What Are Good For Mesothelioma?
To support treatment:
The most important food recommended to support lung cancer patients is black radish. Horseradish can also be preferred.
Carrot, black radish, blackberries, black grapes, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries which are rich in beta carotene are also recommended to patients.
Eating plenty of yoghurt instead of quail eggs and milk helps patients feel good.
One teaspoon of turmeric should be consumed daily and the patient should stay away from white sugar, white flour and brown sugar.
Drinking five cups of sugar-free coffee a day is also known to support treatment.
As a diuretic, parsley, cherry stalk, corn tassel, avocado, bay leaf teas are recommended.
Green tea have also been demonstrated in animal experiments.