Asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma cancer, which is a very rare cancer on the earth.
Asbestos is a fibrous material and a deadly carcinogen that causes mesothelioma and asbestosis.
It has been established that there is a link between mesothelioma cancer and asbestos exposure, but the symptoms of this disease cannot be seen until years or even decades (usually 30-40 years after exposure to asbestos).
However, the first case of mesothelioma with a link to asbestos exposure was confirmed in early 1898.
Almost 60-75% of the individuals will get mesothelioma with a history of exposure to asbestos although there are some incidents where the individuals suffered from mesothelioma without exposure to asbestos.
According to the research, workers of the construction industries are at highest risk of getting mesothelioma cancer due to inhalation of asbestos.
Depending on the location of the disease, stage of the disease, and patient’s age and health, there are several treatment options, which include chemotherapy, radiotherapy or radiation therapy, surgery, and palliative care.
As mesothelioma cancer is hard to control, National Cancer Institute is supporting to find new treatments and ways to use current and established treatments.
Immunotherapy for mesothelioma cancer:
Immunotherapy is a newly developed method in treating mesothelioma cancer. It is also known as biological therapy. Immune system of the body is used in this method to treat mesothelioma.
This immunotherapy restores the immune system of the body and improves the natural immune system. This will be more effective in fighting with the disease. The substances called Biological Response Modifiers (BRM) are used in this treatment by preparing them in laboratory, although these BRMs are naturally found in the body. The BRMs that are prepared in laboratory also proved to give same effect as of natural BRMs.
Photodynamic therapy for mesothelioma cancer:
Photodynamic therapy is another new mesothelioma cancer treatment. According to the theory, single-celled organisms will die with exposure to certain frequency of light and based on this theory, photodynamic therapy has been established.
In this method, some photosensitive drugs will be administered to the patient intravenously and these drugs start to destroy diseased cells in a couple of days. However, there are some side effects like nausea, vomiting, etc that accompany with this therapy.
Intensity modulated radiation therapy
Another new method of treating mesothelioma cancer is Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy. It is used to improve local control of mesothelioma. In this method, doses of radiation will be administered to tumor without damaging the nearby structures.
There are two types of gene therapy, which are replacement gene therapy and knockout gene therapy. Replacement gene therapy replaces the mutated gene, which causes mesothelioma and the knockout gene therapy eliminates the genes completely that cause mesothelioma cancer.
Heated intraoperative intraperitoneal chemotherapy and multimodality therapy (combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy) are some of the new methods of treatment for mesothelioma cancer.
However, doctors are conducting clinical trials on the patients to find if the treatment is safe in treating mesothelioma cancer.
Workers need to wear breathing apparatus and protective clothing when working in construction industries, etc to avoid inhalation of asbestos and prevent mesothelioma cancer.