Full Spectrum of Care for Mesothelioma
Between 2,000 and 3,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year. Mesothelioma is a disease in which cancer cells are found in the pleura – a thin layer of tissue that lines the chest and covers the lungs.
At University Hospitals (UH) Seidman Cancer Center, a nationally recognized cancer program, our specialized lung cancer team offers a full spectrum of care for patients living with mesothelioma. We are committed to providing advanced diagnostic techniques and treatments for this rare type of cancer.
In most cases, mesothelioma is caused by past exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a natural mineral found in rock and soil and was previously used in the construction, manufacturing, automotive and military industries. When asbestos particles are breathed in or swallowed, it can lead to serious life-threatening conditions, including mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma Differential Diagnosis with Advanced Imaging and Biopsy Techniques
Since other diseases can present with similar symptoms, mesothelioma is usually not diagnosed until it has spread. The most common symptoms of mesothelioma include chest or abdominal pain, shortness of breath, fatigue and collapse of the lung.
If you show any symptoms of lung function issues, our specialists will use a range of diagnostic tests to determine whether you have mesothelioma:
- Imaging tests:
- Computed tomography (CT) imaging scans use x-rays and a computer to create a more detailed image of the lungs
- Chest x-rays identify abnormalities in the lungs
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans use magnets and radio waves to view the lungs in more detail
- Positron emission tomography (PET) is a nuclear image procedure to look at blood flow and oxygen use in the lungs
- Thoracoscopic surgical biopsy: In this test, a small incision is made in the chest. Then, a tiny tube with a camera is inserted and a small amount of tissue is removed and studied under a microscope.
Tailored Pleural Mesothelioma Treatments
We know that every patient is unique. Our lung cancer specialists consider age, general health, the type and stage of your mesothelioma when designing an individualized mesothelioma treatment plan.
A surgical procedure may be recommended to relieve symptoms, reduce the amount of cancer and increase the chances of successful treatment with radiation or chemotherapy. The two most common surgical procedures our highly trained and experienced surgeons perform include:
- Extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP): A complex procedure, EPP involves removing all damaged organ tissue where mesothelioma has spread. Areas that may be affected by the removal of tissue include cancerous lung and perhaps lymph nodes, diaphragm and parts of the chest or heart lining. It is only an option for patients who are in good physical shape.
- Pleurectomy: Usually suggested if EPP cannot be conducted because of poor lung or heart function, a pleurectomy is another surgical option. In this procedure, the tumor is peeled away from the lung, diaphragm and chest wall while leaving these structures intact.
Once surgery is complete, most patients move on with additional treatment such as radiation or chemotherapy. Radiation therapy is most often recommended as part of a patient’s treatment plan for mesothelioma. Although precise radiation therapy cannot cure mesothelioma alone, it can reduce the risk of the cancer returning. In some cases, radiation therapy may also be paired with chemotherapy.
Convenient Access to Expert Care and Mesothelioma Clinical Trials
University Hospitals offers state-of-the-art care with access to mesothelioma clinical trials that only a large health system can provide.
Our mesothelioma patients have access to locations throughout our system of care to get started on the path to recovery. Patients are able use our UH Seidman Cancer Center infusion centers closer to home at convenient locations across northeast Ohio.