The Dark Side of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that’s not only aggressive but also very difficult to treat.
The symptoms are often painful and challenging, and that’s why learning about this illness is crucial.
Therefore, learning about it, including how painful the disease is, can help patients prepare for this unforgiving disease. It accelerates too fast and spreads out of control too quickly. It has a dark side to it that needs to be understood. So here is what you need to know about mesothelioma to understand why it’s a scary disease:
Table of Contents
1. How Many Cell Types Does Mesothelioma have?
Mesothelioma doesn’t have one cell type; there are about three. Depending on your cell type, doctors plan a treatment route. This is what makes mesothelioma an unpredictable disease. If you have rapidly multiplying cells, the chances of getting cured get slimmer by the day. Below are the three cell types which make up mesothelioma.
- Epithelial Cells. Epithelial mesothelioma is the most common of the three. This tumor involves cube-shaped cells with visible nuclei. When it comes to treatment, epithelioid mesothelioma responds the best. It means you have a better chance of recovery.
- Sarcomatoid Cells. These cells make up a rare form of mesothelioma. Sarcomatoid cells have oval and spindle shapes and distinctive nodes. These cells are resistant to most drugs and spread quickly, causing your condition to deteriorate rapidly. It means the treatment is complex.
- Biphasic Cells. These cells are a mixture of epithelioid and sarcomatoid cells. Treatment is possible if a patient has more of the former than the latter. However, there are excessive cells found for sarcomatoid that spells trouble.
It’s enough for a patient to know if they have mesothelioma and what type of cells are festering under the surface. This is why patients have a hard time dealing with a mesothelioma diagnosis.
2. What Does Survival Look Like For Mesothelioma?
Survival rates for mesothelioma depend on several factors. For a patient’s understanding, most rates get presented as statistics. For instance, about 12% of patients with mesothelioma in the lungs live for the next five years. A common observation is that about 55% of all mesothelioma patients live for the next six months.
However, as the months increase, the chances of living drop. Most patients cannot live beyond a five-year window, and if they make it beyond that, their lifestyle changes drastically. This makes mesothelioma a challenging diagnosis to live with. Here’s what makes a difference to a patient getting better:
- Tumor Location
Tumor location makes a difference when it comes to treatment. Doctors need to know where the tumor originates from and how far it has spread around the body. Treatment is impossible if it has engulfed all significant organs like the heart and lungs. So far, patients with mesothelioma in their lungs are eligible for surgery and getting chemo. Patients with mesothelioma in their hearts are in a much more delicate position to get treated.
- Age and Gender Of The Patient
If the patient is older, their body is already weak to fight the illness. Unfortunately, most cases of mesothelioma get detected very late. The patient may already be aged when they get handed a diagnosis. This puts the patient in a challenging position. In addition, doctors noticed that female mesothelioma patients have a greater chance of surviving than men.
While there is no conclusive reason why one gender thrives better, there is an assumption that men have a higher chance of getting exposed to asbestos.
Most white patients have a high chance of contracting mesothelioma. Asian, black, or brown patients have lower to no chances of getting mesothelioma. While there is no reason known, there is an assumption the lack of melanin in white patients makes them susceptible. These patients also have a rich family history in mesothelioma cases, continuing the cycle. So most white patients don’t take cancer diagnosis lightly.
- Cancer’s stage
The earlier mesothelioma gets detected, the easier it is to treat. The cells are localized to one spot and get quickly scooped for removal. However, if a patient ignores their symptoms and walks in with a stage three or stage four mesothelioma, chances of treatment are slim. It wouldn’t matter how young or old the patient is; late detection makes it challenging to locate cancer and treat it. Most patients start getting symptoms later in life, making diagnosis and treatment harder.
3. How Painful Is It Living With Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is not easy to live with. Depending on cancer, a patient experiences a range of symptoms. General symptoms include bloating, lumps, swelling, and loss of appetite. They’re all painful and horrible in their way.
There is also a struggle to breathe, and patients may throw up occasionally. It also doesn’t help when patients begin treatment; their body is still a wreck. Cancer treatments carry their side effects, including pain, vomiting, and hair loss. For any patient, continuously experiencing these symptoms is too much. It can shatter their mental health and push them to the deepest corner of their mind.
Mesothelioma is a painful disease. Too many angles govern the illness, making it an unpredictable and messy one. It gets controlled by its location within the cells and how quickly doctors locate the sickness.
The survival rate when it comes to mesothelioma is not promising. It also doesn’t help that several factors hold a patient’s life by the thread. So contracting mesothelioma is not only painful. It is the most tragic disease one could have.