Remission is the disappearance or reduction of cancerous tumors in the body. Complete remission means physical examinations and scans show no cancer. Partial remission is when the disease is responding to treatment but is not cured.
Mesothelioma is considered to be incurable cancer, so even achieving partial remission is a success. In rare cases, cancer might disappear completely and total remission is possible. Getting any level of remission with mesothelioma requires several types of therapy. But there are recorded cases of spontaneous remission. (mesothelioma.net)
The best chance of having a remission with mesothelioma is to be diagnosed as early in the disease as possible. If you know you were exposed to asbestos, you should inform your doctor. He or she can do regular chest X-rays and other tests to see if you are developing health problems. Mesothelioma caught in stage I is much likelier to respond to treatment and possibly go into remission. (Cancer.org)
Partial Remission of Mesothelioma
There is partial and complete remission of cancer. Partial remission means a major improvement without a total disappearance of the disease. A patient with mesothelioma is in partial remission if there is at least a 50% reduction in the size of the tumors. A mesothelioma patient in partial remission will have a major improvement in symptoms.
Pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma is hard to treat. The difficulty is mostly because of diagnosis after cancer has gotten beyond stage I. For many cancer patients, the only treatment option is palliative.
This means the treatment goal is to make them more comfortable and lessen the worst symptoms of mesothelioma. For other patients, traditional and emerging treatments or even clinical trials can help them get to partial remission. Partial remission means feeling better and living months or years longer.
Complete Remission of Mesothelioma
A mesothelioma patient in complete remission has no signs or symptoms of cancer. Some physicians refer to this as ‘no evidence of disease’ (NED). Complete remission in mesothelioma patients is rare; it is aggressive cancer that spreads quickly from the original tumor site. Killing all mesothelioma cells is difficult and rare, but it has happened.
If you achieve complete remission, you may feel you are cured, but this does not mean the mesothelioma will never come back. While the doctors may not see any cancer cells, they still can be in your body at a microscopic level.
Contributing Factors For Mesothelioma Remission
Doctors have found several factors that may help mesothelioma go into remission. While surgery is most likely to lead to prolonged remission, some patients have experienced partial or complete remission with these therapies:
- Systemic chemotherapy
- Oxygen therapy
- Significant changes in diet
- Nutritional supplements
Also, there is a novel therapy that has led to some cases of remission. It is the drug defactinib. The goal of this drug is to offer maintenance treatment of asbestos cancer. After the patient has their initial rounds of treatment, defactinib is introduced into their treatment plan. This could be one of the most successful drugs available to prolong mesothelioma remission. (Verastem.com)
Why Curing Mesothelioma Is Difficult
Some people say complete remission is a cure, but it is hard to say this with mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is considered incurable cancer but there are cases of remission. But even if a patient is in complete remission, it is likely cancer will come back eventually.
No one really understands why remission is so hard with mesothelioma. But doctors know this cancer spreads fast and aggressively. The easier it is for cancer to spread, the harder it is to control and cure. Mesothelioma has a latency period of up to 50 years. It is often diagnosed in stages III or IV when it has already spread beyond the original tumor. If mesothelioma is diagnosed in stage I, remission is more likely.
Remission Case Studies
While many people do not survive with mesothelioma beyond a year, there are still remarkable remission stories. One story that was published in 2007 discussed a 60-year-old woman with mesothelioma. She had a spontaneous remission. Six months after she was diagnosed, she had no signs of cancer. Five years later, she was in complete remission.
While doctors offer her various treatments, she declined them. Over several months, doctors saw her tumors shrink and disappear. No one understands how mesothelioma can go into spontaneous remission.
Another case involved a 71-year-old woman who had peritoneal mesothelioma. She experienced complete remission 220 days after her initial operation. But cancer eventually entered her pleura a few months later.
Yet another case involved a 76-year-old man with pleural mesothelioma who had a partial remission for two years and no symptoms for three years. The patient was consuming an herbal and vegetable diet during this period. (Sciencedirect.com)
Recurrence After Mesothelioma Remission
Patients in remission from mesothelioma should know cancer can recur. Cancer could come back to the same place in your body or in another area. Recurrence is common, so any patient in remission from mesothelioma should be screened for cancer regularly.
Remember that complete remission for mesothelioma is very rare. But partial remission is more common. When mesothelioma progresses after partial remission, it is not actually a recurrence. Rather, doctors refer to this as a progression or worsening of the mesothelioma.
No matter what you call it, this development is devastating. Most patients in partial mesothelioma remission can expect cancer to spread in the future.
If you or someone you love has mesothelioma recur, it is challenging physically and emotionally. Dealing with being ill again after feeling well is mentally draining. You could feel as if there is no hope. Support of your loved ones is key during these times.
Speak to your doctor about any new treatment options for your mesothelioma. When recurrence is localized, surgery or radiation could be the answer. If the recurrence is at a distant site, systemic chemotherapy could be the better option.
Get Mesothelioma Legal Help Immediately
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