Hope for Mesothelioma Patients - Combination Therapy and Improved Nutrition

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Recent studies have been carried out by various medical institutions around the world that can provide hope to those suffering from Mesothelioma in the form of combination therapies and improved eating habits.

Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of the lungs that can remain undetected until its diagnosis many years later. Exposure to asbestos is believed to be the almost exclusive cause of Mesothelioma although research is currently being carried out on other areas including taconite. The asbestos fibres and dust can lay dormant in the cells for many years causing inflammation and eventually becoming cancerous usually between 10 and 40 years from exposure. Unfortunately, it’s not until the later stages that the symptoms are noticed.

There is currently a 2 year study being carried out in Mexico City on the chemotherapy medication of liposomal doxorubicin and cisplatin to ascertain if they can improve the survival rates of those suffering from Mesothelioma. It has been revealed that a single dose of one of the above medications has produced a 20 percent success rate whilst the combination of the above two medications has increased this success rate to 25 percent. It has been noted that patients can often become resistant to a single agent and can experience various side effects when having numerous cycles of the same agent, however the resistance is not the same when the patient is exposed to combination therapy.

Further studies in New Hampshire include the use of chemical agents to protect the healthy cells whilst destroying the cancerous cells. These agents have also proved to be successful in attacking those tumours previously resistant to potent drugs whilst protecting the healthy tissues.

Pemetrexed is one of the drugs recently trialled. It is a drug that targets the folic acid metabolic pathway. The results of the trial showed that in 41 percent of patients on pemetrexed when combined with a chemotherapy agent such as cisplatin the tumour shrunk. The effect on those receiving cisplatin alone involved only 17 percent that experienced shrinkage of the tumour. The research also showed that those on both pemetrexed and cisplatin lived almost three months longer than those on cisplatin alone.

Nicholas J. Vogelzang, M.D., University of Chicago Cancer Research Centre stated, "This is the largest clinical trial ever conducted in this disease and the 25 to 30 percent improvement in survival for patients on the combination therapy is the first time anyone has documented a significant improvement in patients treated for Mesothelioma."

The combination therapy studies may hold the key to increasing the success rates of those patients suffering from Mesothelioma.

As well as combination therapy, there has been interest shown in the benefits of improving a Mesothelioma patient’s nutrition and eating habits. It has been suggested for many years that eating a well balanced healthy diet, including fruit and vegetables can prevent the onset of cancer and other health problems.

Vegetables have many benefits including the ability of cells to restore DNA. The importance of the diet should not be overlooked when considering protections from further damage to the body. Other nutrients assist with preventing harmful substances from damaging the body; a prime example of this would be those in dark green vegetables.

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