Combination Therapy: The Future of Mesothelioma Treatment
Mesothelioma is a rare but aggressive type of cancer that develops in the protective lining that covers the internal organs of the body. This lining is known as the mesothelium and it is found in various parts of the body, such as the lungs, abdomen, and heart. The main cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral that was widely used in construction, insulation, and manufacturing throughout the 20th century.
Despite advances in medical research and treatment, mesothelioma remains a challenging cancer to treat. It has a poor prognosis with a median survival rate of just 12 months, and treatment options are limited. However, there is hope on the horizon in the form of combination therapy. In this article, we will explore what combination therapy is, how it works, and why it is the future of mesothelioma treatment.
What is Combination Therapy?
Combination therapy is a type of cancer treatment that involves using two or more different treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery, together to achieve a better outcome than would be possible with just one treatment. The goal of combination therapy is to attack the cancer cells in several different ways, making it more difficult for the cancer to grow and spread.
There are several different types of combination therapy, including:
- Neoadjuvant therapy - This is when chemotherapy or radiation therapy is given before surgery to shrink the tumor and make it easier to remove.
- Adjuvant therapy - This is when chemotherapy or radiation therapy is given after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells.
- Concurrent therapy - This is when chemotherapy and radiation therapy are given at the same time to increase the effectiveness of both treatments.
How Does Combination Therapy Work?
Combination therapy works by attacking the cancer cells in several different ways, making it more difficult for the cancer to grow and spread. The different treatments used in combination therapy each target the cancer cells in different ways, making it more difficult for the cancer to become resistant to treatment.
For example, chemotherapy works by killing fast-growing cells, such as cancer cells. Radiation therapy works by damaging the DNA in the cancer cells, making it difficult for them to replicate. Surgery works by physically removing the tumor from the body. When used together, these treatments can be more effective than when used alone.
Why is Combination Therapy the Future of Mesothelioma Treatment?
Mesothelioma is a challenging cancer to treat because it is often diagnosed at an advanced stage when the cancer has already spread to other parts of the body. This makes it difficult to remove the entire tumor with surgery and increases the risk of the cancer coming back after treatment.
However, combination therapy has shown promising results in treating mesothelioma. A study published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology found that patients with mesothelioma who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy and surgery had longer overall survival rates than those who received surgery alone. Another study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that patients with mesothelioma who received a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy had a better response rate than those who received chemotherapy alone.
In addition, combination therapy may also help to reduce the side effects of treatment. When used alone, chemotherapy and radiation therapy can both cause severe side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. However, when used together, the doses of both treatments can be reduced, reducing the risk of side effects.
In conclusion, combination therapy is the future of mesothelioma treatment. It offers a more effective way of attacking the cancer cells by using two or more different treatments together. While mesothelioma is a challenging cancer to treat, combination therapy offers hope for patients and their families. As medical research continues to advance, we hope to see more effective combination therapies developed that can improve the outcomes for mesothelioma patients.