Mesothelioma:

Supportive vs Non Supportive Care

Mesothelioma patients can receive two types of treatment after receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis. Non-supportive mesothelioma care aims to treat the disease, while supportive care works only to relieve the symptoms. Supportive care, also known as palliative care, helps patients with advanced mesothelioma reduce symptoms including pain and breathing difficulties. Often, patients receiving supportive care are too ill to handle surgery, radiation or chemotherapy.

Several mesothelioma symptoms can be treated with palliative care. If a patient is suffering from shortness of breath, he or she may undergo a pleurectomy to reduce fluid buildup in the chest. Pain in the chest may also be controlled by medication, pump insertions or surgical blocks.

Patients seeking non-supportive care have several options. The best aggressive approaches combine several mesothelioma treatments to improve the patient’s prognosis. For example, surgery can be performed to remove the cancer. However, because mesothelioma spreads across all surfaces of the chest, it is difficult to confirm that every cancerous cell has been extracted during the operation. This is often why radiation and/or chemotherapy are administered in combination with surgery.

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