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How do doctors treat mesothelioma?

Most employees enjoy the benefit of a safe work environment where injuries are unlikely. Other workers face a host of potentially fatal dangers on the job, like the threat of falling in the construction industry or the threat of getting into an accident as a truck driver. Still, other workers face invisible dangers at their workplaces – and unbeknownst to them, they're breathing in harmful substances that could later threaten their lives.

Shipyard workers, plumbers, construction workers and brake shop workers, for example, could be at risk of encountering the invisible dangers of asbestos. Breathing in this deadly mineral can lead to fatal lung illnesses and cancer, like mesothelioma -- which could require extensive medical care.

Treating mesothelioma: The options

Mesothelioma is a potentially fatal and difficult-to-treat cancer that primarily affects the lungs. However, the disease can also develop in other areas of the body, like the heart. Once a doctor discovers mesothelioma, it's important to treat it immediately. Here are some of the treatment methods doctors use:

  • Surgery: If mesothelioma tumors have developed in the lungs, surgery could help to relieve some of the patient's symptoms.
  • Radiation therapy: In some cases, radiation therapy can reduce the size and/or halt the growth of mesothelioma in the body.
  • Chemotherapy: Like radiation therapy, chemotherapy may also be helpful in some cases.
  • Targeted therapy: Targeted therapy is a way of reducing the overall impact of cancer treatments that can play a heavy toll on the body, while still achieving helpful results.
  • Biologic therapy: Biologic therapy is a treatment that involves boosting or diminishing activity in the immune system. At this stage, biologic therapy is an experimental treatment for mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is generally considered to be a fatal condition. Doctors, however, may be able to slow down the progress of this serious health condition. Some patients may also want to participate in a clinical trial to test a new, experimental therapy -- which could benefit the patient and others in the future.

Are you having trouble paying for your mesothelioma treatments?

Since mesothelioma is usually caused by a patient's prior work conditions, it's important to consider whether a patient can file a workers' compensation claim to pay for medical care. If successfully navigated, such a claim could be very helpful -- not only to pay for doctors' bills, but also to pay for time spent unable to work because of the disease.

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