Mesothelioma is a cancer of the mesothelium, or lining, which surrounds the abdominal cavity, the lungs and the heart. Because of its commonly long mesothelioma latency period before diagnosis, the cancer is often far developed by the time a mesothelioma diagnosis occurs, and thus does not often go into remission. Remission is when the mesothelioma symptoms disappear in full or in part. However, there have been some encouraging recent cases of patients who consider themselves mesothelioma survivors because they have been able to manage the disease and live with it for several years. They have achieved this through alternative mesothelioma treatment therapies as well as major adjustments to their diets. Although mesothelioma chemotherapy and radiation treatments are still used in advanced cases of mesothelioma, new diagnostic methods offer hope that physicians may soon be able to diagnose this cancer earlier, and may thus be able to apply treatment much sooner to eliminate it.
Detection of Cancer
Malignant cancer cells are present in conjunction with protein markers. Patients who have been exposed to asbestos in the past also show higher levels of osteopontin protein, as reported in a New England Journal of Medicine 2005 article, a promising new bit of understanding about this form of cancer. Japanese researchers have also developed a new tool to detect mesothelioma in the earliest stages, when surgery could provide a superior mesothelioma treatment. This diagnostic tool is the Mesomark®.
Chemotherapy and mesothelioma radiation are typical treatments used for many types of cancer, including mesothelioma. However, the Japan Journal of Clinical Oncology reported in 1998 that a 71-year old woman with peritoneal mesothelioma was given cisplatin and tegafur-uracil, two common chemotherapy drugs. This caused the patient to go into complete remission.
Adjuvant radiation therapy, which is a therapy applied after mesothelioma surgery, helps to reduce the recurrence of cancer, according to a study held at Sloan-Kettering. The type of radiation therapy often used is known as EBRT, or External beam radiation therapy.
Paul Kraus, a patient who has stopped the progression of his mesothelioma for fourteen years as of 2009, has done so through oxygen therapy, as well as diet and meditation. The oxygen therapy is based on evidence showing that cancer cells grow in a low-oxygen environment, so by increasing the oxygen it has helped to slow the disease.
Dr. William Coley developed a different treatment in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He injected strep throat bacteria into a patient with cancer, and this caused the patient's own immune system to kick in, with the result that the cancer cells went into remission.
In the 1980s, Dr. Demetrio Sodi-Pallares, a Mexican electrocardiologist, determined that by changing the diet and using a magnetic pulsating mattress of a patient with pleural mesothelioma, that the patient's effusions eventually disappeared. Unfortunately, the doctor's work has not been paid much attention in the United States.
Remission with No Outside Treatment
Although unusual, there has been a case reported of spontaneous remission of mesothelioma cancer in Australia. The 61-year old woman, a patient of Dr. Roger K. Allen of the Wesley Medical Centre, went into a rapid remission. The physician suggests that what caused the remission was the patient's own immune system as well as "cell-mediated immunity." Further study may lead to immunotherapy as a method of treatment leading to the remission of this type of cancer.
Allen, Roger K. "Apparent Spontaneous Complete Regression of a Multifocal Malignant Mesothelioma of the Pleura." The Medical Journal of Australia, 2007.
Ito, H, et. al. "A Case Of Malignant Peritoneal Mesothelioma Showed Complete Remission With Chemotherapy." Japan Journal of Clinical Oncology, 28 Feb 1998.
Kraus, Paul. Surviving Mesothelioma and Other Cancers: A Patient's Guide. (Raleigh: Cancer Monthly, 2005)
Lüderitz, Berndt, and Augustin Castellanos, eds. "History: Demetrio Sodi-Pallares (1913-2003). Journal of Interventional Cardiac Electrophysiology, 2004.
Pain, Stephanie. "Dr. Coley's Famous Fever." New Scientist, 2 November 2002.
Rusch, VW, et. al. "A Phase II Trial Of Surgical Resection and Adjuvant High-Dose Hemithoracic Radiation For Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma." Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, 2001.