Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, chest, heart, and abdomen. It is caused by exposure to asbestos, a mineral used in construction materials, automotive parts, and other products. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you need to seek out the best medical care available.
At UCLA Hospital, we have a team of experienced doctors and researchers who are dedicated to treating mesothelioma and advancing our understanding of this disease. In this article, we will provide an overview of mesothelioma and its treatment, as well as share some of the latest developments in mesothelioma research.
What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the thin layer of tissue that covers many of the internal organs of the body, known as the mesothelium. The most common type of mesothelioma, accounting for about 75% of cases, is pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the lungs. Other types of mesothelioma include peritoneal mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the abdomen, and pericardial mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the heart.
Symptoms of Mesothelioma
The symptoms of mesothelioma can take many years to appear after exposure to asbestos, making it difficult to diagnose. Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma can include chest pain, shortness of breath, and persistent cough. Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma can include abdominal pain, swelling, and weight loss. Symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma can include chest pain and difficulty breathing.
Diagnosing mesothelioma usually involves a combination of imaging tests, such as X-rays and CT scans, and biopsies, which involve taking a small sample of tissue for examination under a microscope. It is important to see a doctor if you have any symptoms of mesothelioma, especially if you have a history of asbestos exposure.
Treatment Options for Mesothelioma
Treatment options for mesothelioma depend on the type and stage of the cancer, as well as the patient’s overall health. At UCLA Hospital, we offer a variety of treatment options for mesothelioma, including surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. We also offer clinical trials for new and experimental treatments.
Surgery for Mesothelioma
Surgery is often used to remove as much of the cancerous tissue as possible. For pleural mesothelioma, doctors may perform a pleurectomy, which involves removing the lining of the lungs. For peritoneal mesothelioma, doctors may perform a peritonectomy, which involves removing the lining of the abdomen. In some cases, doctors may also remove the affected organ, such as the lung or spleen.
Radiation Therapy for Mesothelioma
Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells. It can be used before or after surgery, or as a standalone treatment. At UCLA Hospital, we use the latest in radiation therapy technology to precisely target the cancerous tissue while minimizing damage to healthy tissue.
Chemotherapy for Mesothelioma
Chemotherapy involves using drugs to kill cancer cells. It can be administered orally or intravenously, and can be used in combination with surgery or radiation therapy. At UCLA Hospital, we use the latest chemotherapy drugs that are specifically designed to target mesothelioma cells.
Latest Developments in Mesothelioma Research
At UCLA Hospital, we are committed to advancing our understanding of mesothelioma and developing new and more effective treatments. Our researchers are involved in a number of clinical trials that are testing new drugs and therapies for mesothelioma.
Clinical Trials for Mesothelioma
Clinical trials are research studies that test new treatments on patients. At UCLA Hospital, we offer a number of clinical trials for mesothelioma, including those for immunotherapy and targeted therapy. These treatments are designed to help the body’s immune system recognize and attack cancer cells.
New Developments in Mesothelioma Treatment
In recent years, there have been a number of new developments in mesothelioma treatment. These include the use of gene therapy, which involves modifying a patient’s cells to target cancer cells, and the use of nanoparticles, which can deliver drugs directly to cancer cells while sparing healthy cells.
FAQs about UCLA Hospital Mesothelioma
What sets UCLA Hospital apart in the field of mesothelioma treatment?
At UCLA Hospital, we have a team of experienced doctors, nurses, and researchers who are dedicated to treating mesothelioma and improving our understanding of this disease. We also offer a variety of treatment options, including surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, as well as clinical trials for new and experimental treatments.
What is the prognosis for mesothelioma?
The prognosis for mesothelioma varies depending on a number of factors, including the type and stage of the cancer, as well as the patient’s overall health. However, mesothelioma is a serious and often deadly disease, and early detection and treatment are critical to improving outcomes.
What is the survival rate for mesothelioma?
The survival rate for mesothelioma varies depending on the type and stage of the cancer, as well as the patient’s overall health. However, the overall survival rate for mesothelioma is relatively low, with most patients surviving less than a year after diagnosis.
What are the risk factors for mesothelioma?
The primary risk factor for mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. Asbestos was widely used in construction materials, automotive parts, and other products until the 1970s, so people who worked in these industries or who lived in homes with asbestos insulation are at the highest risk.
Can mesothelioma be prevented?
The best way to prevent mesothelioma is to avoid exposure to asbestos. If you work in industries that use asbestos, it is important to follow safety guidelines and wear protective equipment. If you live in an older home with asbestos insulation, it is important to have it removed by a professional.
What should I do if I have been diagnosed with mesothelioma?
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is important to seek out the best medical care available. At UCLA Hospital, we offer a variety of treatment options, as well as clinical trials for new and experimental treatments. We also offer support services for patients and their families, including counseling and support groups.
Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly cancer that requires expert medical care. At UCLA Hospital, we have a team of experienced doctors and researchers who are dedicated to treating mesothelioma and advancing our understanding of this disease. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, we encourage you to contact us to learn more about our treatment options and clinical trials.