Surviving mesothelioma is a challenge. It’s a type of cancer that is fairly well understood but not able to be stopped easily. It’s often discovered only after it has progressed significantly, hindering a patient’s ability to get life-saving medical care.
In too many cases, patients receive the news that they’re living with cancer and will be made comfortable, since it’s all doctors can do for them. That’s not what anyone wants to hear, but it’s a reality for many people with mesotheliom.
How are patients treated with later stages of mesothelioma?
Late stages of mesothelioma are particularly harmful to the body. Patients in stage 3 and 4 may have difficulty breathing, struggle with frequent coughing and have severe chest pains. It’s only at these later stages that most people with the disease realize that it is there. They may finally get a diagnosis.
In a stage 4 diagnosis, a patient has the most significant symptoms. This diagnosis also means that the disease has spread. Palliative treatment options are common at this stage, but for some lucky individuals, there may be options to remove a large portion of the disease and prolong the patient’s life.
Stage 4 mesothelioma is the worst diagnosis to get, and patients are given an estimated 12 months to live. It is not easy to treat the cancer at this stage, but that does not mean that patients don’t live longer than the above estimate. Some extend their lives significantly through treatments like surgery, but most people will obtain palliative care and focus on improving the quality of their lives.