Answer: Mesothelioma is a very common disease in our country. While the incidence is 1-2 in 1 million people in the world, 500 people are newly diagnosed in our country. The cause of the disease is the unconscious use of asbestos, which is popularly known as white soil, barren soil, celestial soil, delph, scourge or ceren soil. Asbestos is used for whitewashing houses in villages or as a substitute for powder in young children, while in some areas babies are surrounded by heated asbestos, known as a scourge. This leads to mesothelioma and respiratory diseases of these babies. Asbestos exposure is also seen in various occupations. An interesting point is that signs and symptoms of mesothelioma may occur within 20 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos.
Question: What are the symptoms of mesothelioma and how is it diagnosed?
Answer: Mesothelioma is a disease usually presenting with an accumulation of water in the chest cavity and the most common symptoms are pain and progressive shortness of breath. In addition, cough, blood loss from the mouth, weight loss, loss of appetite, fatigue, fatigue are also seen.
The patient is initially taken with chest x-ray and tomography, although some typical findings may be detected, the standard method for definitive diagnosis is a biopsy. First, samples are collected from the fluid accumulated in the lung and sent to pathology for examination. If the diagnosis cannot be made with the result, a biopsy of the membrane is performed. A biopsy can be performed by needle or by surgical method. It is also applied to patients with PET-CT, ultrasonography, and MRI to investigate the spread of cancer.
Question: How is mesothelioma treated?
Answer: The biopsy result and the stage of the disease are the mainstays of treatment. There are 3 types of mesothelioma. Only the epithelial type has a surgical chance. In sarcomatoid and mixed types, the patient is referred to as chemotherapy and radiotherapy. When staging is done, mesotheliomas are divided into 4 stages, and only very early-stage patients with stage 1 or 2 have the chance of surgical treatment. Unfortunately, since the disease develops insidiously over the years and begins to show signs late, the disease usually becomes very advanced when diagnosed.
Various open and closed surgical methods are available. Here, the surgeon decides the type of surgery according to the patient’s findings. There are various surgical techniques ranging from complete removal of that side lung, diaphragm, and cardiac membrane to peeling of the lung membranes alone or removing only the tumor portion in a confined space.
Chemoradiotherapy is applied in patients who are not suitable for surgery, in patients with recurrent tumors after surgery or in patients with tumor spread to other organs. Chemotherapy is not as successful as other tumors because of the poor blood supply in these types of tumors, but more successful results have been started with the constantly renewed protocols. The success of radiotherapy remains limited, as the disease is very wide and there are vital organs that can be damaged, so the amount of radiation that can be delivered is limited, which limits the success of the treatment.
Sometimes the patient is only given procedures to reduce shortness of breath and pain. Often, fluid is collected in the lungs of these patients, and these fluids are discharged by wearing a chest tube, and pleurodesis is performed to prevent re-accumulation. Low-dose chemoradiotherapy is given. The aim is to extend the patient’s life span and to ensure a quality of life as much as possible. However, as with any disease, our primary goal here is primary prevention, followed by early diagnosis and treatment.