Asbestos related cancers are often aggressive. In advanced cases, surgery and chemotherapy to treat the cancer may not be an option. In these situations, the patient may struggle to find a medical treatment plan to help them beat the cancer. A recent medical breakthrough could provide another option.
Breakthrough #1: Immunotherapy
In this first medical breakthrough, researchers studied the use of immunotherapy to treat mesothelioma. Immunotherapy is a way to use the body’s own immune system to fight the cancer. Immunotherapy basically helps your body learn how to identify and fight against cancer cells.
The treatment led to shrinkage of the cancer tumors in some patients. When it did, over 30% of those patients reported continued shrinkage two years later. This is significant when compared to patients who underwent chemotherapy. In the chemo group, only 8% reported ongoing shrinkage. Overall, researchers report the survival rate for those who used immunotherapy was 41%, while the rate for those who used traditional chemotherapy was 27%.
It is important to note that this study was done in Europe. This is because Scotland has highest numbers of mesothelioma in the world. A large number of the population worked in construction and shipbuilding — two professions that often result in asbestos exposure.
Although the research was completed in another country, it is still valuable here. Mesothelioma is mesothelioma, no matter where you live. The government agrees, as the United States Food and Drug (FDA) Administration has approved immunotherapy as a treatment choice for mesothelioma.
Breakthrough #2: AI
Early diagnosis is often the key to successful medical treatment for any illness. It is also important to continually track the changes to tumors to see if treatment is working. To help achieve this goal, medical professionals developed an artificial intelligence (AI) system that can help recognize and measure mesothelioma tumors.
This is especially helpful for treatment of mesothelioma tumors. Cancer tumors often grow in a sphere-like shape. Mesothelioma is different. Instead, it grows in a more complex and difficult to measure shape. Use of this system can give physicians working to treat mesothelioma more accurate measurements.
Mesothelioma is often an avoidable cancer. Those who develop this type of cancer are generally exposed to carcinogens like asbestos while on-the-job. As a result, they may be able to hold the responsible employer accountable for the costs that result from the cancer.