Mesothelioma is an aggressive, incurable form of cancer caused by ongoing exposure to asbestos. Although it can be decades before a patient exhibits any symptoms, once they surface, the average survival rate is 18 months following an initial diagnosis. The most common form is Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma (MPM), which occurs when a tumor develops in the pleura (a thin, translucent organ that surrounds and protects the lungs). The tumor destroys the pleura, crushing the lungs and causing fluid to build up. This process typically burdens the patient with great pain, shortness of breath, and a cough.
Chemotherapy Options for Mesothelioma Patients
Although no reported cure is currently available, researchers have been some progress with treatment options to keep patients more comfortable by attempting to shrink tumors. One of those treatment options is chemotherapy, which is usually used in conjunction with surgery. However, chemotherapy can have harsh side effects. Doctors sometimes hesitate to put mesothelioma patients through his process because most patients are older due to the latency period of this disease and may not react well. And even if a patient did react well, standard chemotherapy only has a 40% remission rate in MPM patients.
While a cure is still lacking, researchers have made discoveries that could lead to better chemotherapy results for mesothelioma patients. One of the most recent studies from Germany indicates a direct correlation between the body's ability to metabolize increased levels of folic acid phenotypes (FAP) and chemotherapy success. According to WebMD, folic acid is a synthetic form of a water-soluble B vitamin found in many foods. It is used for preventing low blood levels, anemia, liver disease, and other health issues. In cancer patients, lower levels of folic acid can actually slow down tumor cell division and growth. The conclusion of this study states, "The balance between folic acid uptake, activation and metabolism plays a crucial role in response to pemetrexed-based chemotherapy and the prognosis of MPM patients. Implementing this marker profile in MPM stratification may help to individualize MPM-therapy more efficiently."
Filing a Mesothelioma Claim
Doctors will do everything they can to prolong and improve the quality of a patient's life. However, at some point, they will likely recommend speaking with an experienced attorney to file a claim. Manufacturers of products containing asbestos knowingly exposed workers and their families to its deadly fibers for decades. If you or a loved one was recently diagnosed with mesothelioma, we encourage you to contact an attorney to discuss the details of a legal claim. Call us at 1-800-720-4981 to get started.