A new article in Scholars Journal of Medical Case Reports outlines the treatment protocol of an 8-year survivor of mesothelioma. Malignant pleural mesothelioma is difficult to treat. This aggressive cancer is caused by asbestos exposure and is resistant to most standard cancer therapies, including radiotherapy. Many people diagnosed with mesothelioma die within a few months to a year.
Paul Kraus is considered the longest documented survivor of mesothelioma in the world. He was diagnosed in 1997 and was given little hope of survival. Not willing to give up, he worked with a team of doctors to create his own tailored treatment protocol. This protocol included dramatic lifestyle changes, experimental therapies, dietary changes, mind-body medicine, and other modalities. Paul was fortunate. The protocol he and his doctors created helped him keep the mesothelioma in check.
Treating Epithelial-Type Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma
Malignant mesothelioma is a very aggressive cancer. Pleural mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops from the thin layer of tissue that covers the lungs and chest wall. It can often take around 40 years for pleural mesothelioma to begin. Imaging studies such as X-rays or CT scans may help in the diagnosis, but a tissue biopsy usually confirms the disease.
In this latest article, a Moroccan team outlines the diagnosis and treatment protocol for an 8-year survivor of mesothelioma. The case is that of a former mine worker with malignant pleural mesothelioma. Although the 71-year-old patient worked in a field that might have exposed him to asbestos, his doctors did not immediately suspect mesothelioma. The patient was a former smoker who estimated around 45 packs/year. The patient’s brother died of cancer. And he also had a cousin who was followed for malignant mesothelioma.
At first, the patient went to a pulmonologist and a chest scan was done. Chest pain is one of the classic symptoms of mesothelioma, but it is also a symptom of many other types of heart, nerve, and respiratory problems. A CT scan of the man’s chest revealed pleural thickening of the right lung. This pleural thickening is another common symptom of mesothelioma, especially in people with a history of asbestos exposure.
Ultimately, the patient was diagnosed with a chest scan and a CT-guided biopsy. This revealed an epithelial-type mesothelium. First, the patient had a few tests to confirm cancer had not spread. Then, he had an abdominopelvic CT scan and bone scintigraphy. These confirmed that the cancer was limited to just one location.
Next, the patient received six cycles of chemotherapy of paclitaxel-carboplatin. Paclitaxel and carboplatin are the names of a chemotherapy combination. It’s also known as PC and CarboTaxo. The patient was then put under surveillance with a maintenance CT Scan every 4 months, then every 6 months. Each scan showed stable pleural thickening and no suspicious lesions.
Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma are frequently confused with symptoms of other, less severe respiratory diseases. Consequently, this confusion of symptoms frequently leads to a wrong diagnosis which can delay treatment and make the battle with pleural mesothelioma even more difficult.
Lead author, Dr. Khouchani of Cadi Ayyad University says, “Malignant mesothelioma is one of the most aggressive cancers, we recall the role of occupational and environmental exposure to asbestos in its genesis its prognosis is poor despite the development of new treatments including immunotherapy.”
A diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma can be devastating physically, emotionally, and financially. Advances in modern medicine have allowed for the improvement of mesothelioma treatment. There is no definitive cure for the disease. A variety of treatment options can extend the duration and quality of life for many people with mesothelioma.
Ballouk, F. Z., A. Sabiq, N. Kadri, I. Zaytoune, B. Mahrouch, M. Bennani, A. A. Agouzzal et al. “An 8-Year Survival of a Probable Pleural Mesothelium: A Case Report.” Sch J Med Case Rep 7 (2022): 642-646. https://saspublishers.com/media/articles/SJMCR_107_642-646.pdf