Palliative Care for Mesothelioma Patients

Palliative care is a very useful and productive way to treat patients who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. It involves managing the pain and symptoms of cancer. In general, palliative care can be defined as specialized medical care for those living with an illness like cancer and focuses on enhancing a person’s quality of life. Other goals of this treatment are to relieve pain and make symptoms lessen. Although mesothelioma does not have a cure, palliative care can increase the lifespan of victims. When treating mesothelioma victims, palliative care can improve reduced appetite, problems with breathing, weakness, pain and poor well-being. Palliative care differs from hospice care in that it includes treatments and therapies such as radiation, medication, chemotherapy and surgery.

Normally, a palliative care team is made up of many different people. These people provide medical, social, practical and emotional support. Those on a palliative care team include doctors and nurses and can also include social workers, chaplains and nutritionists. Palliative care providers may also treat psychological disorders, realize when a patient may have anxiety or depression and provide counseling to patients.

There are two types of palliative procedures that can treat pleural effusions. Pleural effusions are described as water on the lungs, and they occur when there is a build-up of excess fluid between the layers of the pleura outside the lungs. This can become very serious. The two types of palliative procedures that treat this include pleurodesis and thoracentesis. These methods of care involve extracting fluid through a tube, thus creating less pressure on the lungs. After either of these treatments, patients should feel more relief when breathing and they should begin to cough less. In fact, one study has shown that 92% of patients who had a pleurodesis procedure reported that they had less shortness of breath than before the procedure. Other types of palliative surgeries include a partial pleurectomy, which includes removing a part of the pleura so that it can’t fill up with fluid, inserting a catheter and video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) talc pleurodesis. This consists of sealing the space between the two layers of the pleura with medical-grade talc so that it cannot fill with fluid.

Chemotherapy is another option for palliative care. This is a form of palliative care if it is done by itself. Radiation therapy can also be used as palliative care. Radiation therapy can shrink tumors growing into the chest wall. This is done by reducing pressure on the chest wall and lungs.

Around 60% of patients who have abdominal mesothelioma are not able to have surgery. Instead, they can receive palliative care to improve symptoms and quality of life. A procedure that removes fluid from the abdominal cavity is called paracentesis. Patients who undergo this type of treatment experience less pain afterwards. Other forms of palliative procedures include combining cytoreductive surgery and heated chemotherapy. Although highly invasive, this procedure is still technically palliative.

It is difficult to treat pericardial mesothelioma due to its proximity to the heart and not as much is known about care because it is such a rare form of cancer. The most common form of palliative care for pericardial mesothelioma is pericardiocentesis, which involves the removal of fluid in the sac that surrounds the heart. This procedure tends to lessen coughing, chest pains, irregular heartbeat and breathing problems. Another form of palliative treatment involves medication. Medication can include prescription painkillers or over-the-counter medications.

Here at the Halpern Law Firm, we are here for victims of mesothelioma. We want to make sure that all victims of mesothelioma get the compensation they deserve. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and are interested in receiving compensation, call 800-505-6000 for a free case evaluation today. We are available 24/7.


Written By Sadie Gold

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