Mesothelioma is a malignant cancer that currently has no cure. People can develop mesothelioma if they were exposed to asbestos. They breathe or ingest the fibers, which settle in the body. Over time, the fibers form dangerous cancer cells. Unfortunately, the signs of mesothelioma may not show up until the cancer is in its advanced stages.
But this hasn’t stopped scientists from searching for possible treatments that could prolong life and eventually lead to a cure. One new form of treatment is cryotherapy, or cryosurgery. Let’s take a look at how successful cryotherapy is for mesothelioma patients.
How Does Cryotherapy Work as a Mesothelioma Treatment?
Cryotherapy uses cold substances like liquid nitrogen or argon gas to attack the cancerous cells and the tissue. This isn’t an entirely new concept, as sometimes cryotherapy is used to freeze abnormal cells on the skin. There are also procedures for using cryotherapy on other forms of cancer that grow tumors inside the body like prostate cancer, kidney cancer, and liver cancer. Using this form of treatment for mesothelioma patients is still in clinical trials.
When one is undergoing this procedure, their medical team will target the tumor’s location. They make a small incision and insert a tube that contains the liquid nitrogen (or other chemical substance being used for this patient) and freeze the tumor. They’ll refer to the imaging system they’re using so they can limit the effects to healthy tissue in the area. The procedure does not remove the tumor from the body. Instead, after it’s frozen, the body will reabsorb the dead cells.
The important thing to remember with cryotherapy is that while it may not be a cure-all for mesothelioma patients, it can work to buy more time. When mesothelioma patients receive their diagnosis, their prognosis may not be long. Cryotherapy could possibly extend their life.
What Are the Benefits of Cryotherapy?
Typical treatments for mesothelioma include chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. Cryotherapy can be part of a patient’s treatment or used as an alternative, as there may be situations where a patient may not be able to undergo chemo, radiation, or surgery. Cryotherapy is a minimally invasive surgery, unlike the other treatments that can take a major toll on a patient.
Also, cryotherapy is being looked at as a possible way to kill the cancerous cells and help reduce the chances of tumor reformation. Often, patients may undergo a surgical procedure to remove a cancerous tumor. While this surgery can be successful, this doesn’t always stop the cancer from regrowing. Since a person likely cannot undergo consistent surgeries to remove tumors when there’s a recurrence, cryotherapy may be able to prevent this from happening.
Another aspect of mesothelioma treatment is palliative care for pain management. As the cancer enters its advanced stages, the patient may have a lot of painful symptoms. An important aspect of treatment is to maintain as high a quality of life as possible. Cryotherapy can be used to reduce the size of tumors, which in turn can provide pain relief for the patient.
While there are some promising benefits to see how this form of treatment could help mesothelioma patients, there are some potential risks with this treatment. Some possible side effects include damaging healthy tissue when the cryotherapy is not directed correctly. Sometimes, the incision site could become infected.
If a patient is experiencing serious side effects, they could have respiratory failure, cough up blood, or their lung could collapse. These side effects have arisen for those undergoing cryotherapy for lung cancers. However, these serious side effects may not affect most patients.
What’s Next for Cryotherapy?
Since there is still much to learn from this form of treatment, there are studies being done. UCLA is working with the Pacific Mesothelioma Center for a trial that studies what happens when patients undergo cryoablation and study how it affects mesothelioma. Scientists are also looking to cryotherapy as a way to help the person’s immune system develop antibodies against the cancerous cells. This could limit recurrence and regrowth.
These studies are putting brilliant scientific minds together to help mesothelioma patients. One notable person involved is Dr. Robert B. Cameron, known for his work as a highly skilled thoracic surgeon, who has been treating mesothelioma patients for over two decades.
As these studies, trials, and research continue, we could be one step closer to a major breakthrough for treating mesothelioma and improving the lives of patients.
Were You Diagnosed with Mesothelioma?
If you or a loved one was diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may not know who to turn to for help. When you’re dealing with medical expenses, continued treatment, and other difficulties connected with a diagnosis, Frost Law Firm, PC is here for you.
An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can help you through the legal process and fight to get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today so we can discuss your options.