What are Mesothelioma Treatment Side Effects?
Your response to treatment will be unique because your body is like no other. After you make the best treatment decision you can, and it starts, you need to hope it goes well. Side effects may or may not be so harmful you’ll need to change your planned treatment.
Adverse side effects may impact you every time you receive treatment. They may get better or worse. If you have difficulty, talk to your doctor. There may be alternatives that may impact you less, or you may be able to take medications to lessen how they affect you.
Your overall health and age play a role in the side effects. Because of another condition or prior surgery, a particular treatment may not be an option. A chemotherapy drug may be very toxic for a specific organ, and if it’s already weakened, that approach may do you more harm than good.
A major cancer goal of treatment research is to reduce negative side effects. This can improve your quality of life, and if it results in greater tolerance for higher doses, it might increase how long you live too.
If you have pleural mesothelioma, you could have surgery to physically remove as much of it as possible, which will probably include healthy tissue that isn’t affected. Those options include:
- Pleurectomy and Decortication: Part of the membrane covering the lungs, what lines the chest, and part of the lung’s outside surface is removed
- Debulking: Surgery to take out as much of the cancer as possible. This is a less aggressive approach than a pleurectomy/decortication
- Pleurodesis: This procedure prevents fluid build-up around the lungs, a common side effect of pleural mesothelioma. Chemicals or drugs create a scar between the pleural layers. A catheter or chest tube drains the fluid. A drug or chemical is put in the space and causes scarring, which should prevent the future build-up of fluid in the pleural cavity
- Extrapleural Pneumonectomy: One lung, part of the chest lining, the diaphragm, and the membrane lining the heart are all removed
Side effects can include infection, blood clots, and pain at the surgical site. If you have a lung or part of one removed, it can affect your ability to breathe and function.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays or other radiation to prevent mesothelioma cells from multiplying or killing them. Most side effects are temporary and may include:
- Burn-like skin changes
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sores in the mouth and throat
- Dry mouth
- Thick saliva
Rare but serious permanent side effects can be lung damage, breathing difficulty, and shortness of breath.
Chemotherapy, or chemo, uses drugs and chemicals to prevent cancer cell growth or kill them. They often harm healthy cells as well, and that collateral damage causes many side effects.
Chemo is most often given by injection into a vein directly or through a Port-A-Cath (or port, an implanted device made of silicone that allows easy access to your veins). Drugs may also be directly injected into your chest or abdomen during surgery.
There are many possible side effects of chemo drugs, many specific to the drug used, which can be affected by the dosage, how long you’ve used the drug, and your overall health. They include:
- Hair loss
- Mouth sores
- Lost appetite
- Changes in blood counts
- Increased vulnerability to infections
- Mental fog
Medications may limit your side effects’ severity.
These drugs change a gene or protein which is helping your cancer grow. These drugs are often used in a pill form and, generally, have fewer side effects than chemo. Those effects may be dry skin, bleeding, headache, watery or dry eyes, sneezing, or a runny nose.
This treatment boosts your immune system to fight your cancer more effectively. Side effects can be diarrhea, fatigue, itching, skin rash, joint pain, cough, nausea, or fever.
Do You Have Mesothelioma? If So, Satterley & Kelley Can Help
If mesothelioma is part of your life, asbestos fibers probably caused it. You breathed them in or swallowed them, probably while you worked, but it could’ve happened elsewhere.
Satterley & Kelley helps people with mesothelioma with their medical bills and obtain compensation through the legal process. If you want to learn more, call us toll-free at 855-385-9532 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation.