Sarcomatoid mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer that originates in the membrane lining of the lungs, chest wall, and abdomen. It is caused by exposure to asbestos fibers, which are microscopic particles found in many industrial and construction materials. Sarcomatoid cells tend to be more resistant than other types of mesothelioma cells to chemotherapy and radiation treatments. As a result, sarcomatoid mesothelioma has a worse prognosis than other forms of this cancer, making up about 10-15% of all pleural mesothelioma cases and 4% of peritoneal mesothelioma cases. It is also the rarest form of mesothelioma. Symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing up blood, chest pain, and weight loss. In many instances, it will take decades after initial asbestos exposure for symptoms to develop, which is why it often appears that only older adults suffer from this condition. Treatment options for this type of cancer may include surgery or combination therapy with chemotherapy drugs such as pemetrexed or cisplatin. However, the prognosis is often poor, with a life expectancy of anywhere from 4 to 18 months after diagnosis.
Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma Symptoms
The types of symptoms a patient with sarcomatoid mesothelioma may experience will depend on where specifically the cancer develops. Sarcomatoid pleural mesothelioma involves the lungs, which will typically lead to chronic chest pain and difficulty breathing. Sarcomatoid peritoneal mesothelioma cases are rarer and involve the abdominal lining.
Symptoms of sarcomatoid mesothelioma include:
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Excess fluid in the lungs or abdomen
- Frequent coughing (including coughing up blood)
- Loss of appetite
- Lumps under the skin
- Unexplained weight loss
Diagnosing Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma
If any combination of sarcomatoid mesothelioma symptoms persists for weeks and you know you have previously been exposed to asbestos, you should consider getting screened for this disease. Getting an accurate diagnosis can be hard due to the disease’s resemblance to other more common conditions. You may need to seek out a mesothelioma specialist if your doctor is not familiar with this type of cancer or does not want to order a biopsy.
A biopsy is the most reliable way to confirm a diagnosis of sarcomatoid mesothelioma. During a biopsy, a small sample of tissue will be taken and studied under a microscope. The presence of asbestos fibers in this tissue or abnormal cell growth patterns can indicate the presence of sarcomatoid mesothelioma. A biopsy also allows doctors to determine how aggressive the disease is and what types of treatments may be most effective. In many cases, biopsies are used to confirm diagnoses made with imaging technologies like CT scans and X-rays. However, since these technologies cannot always detect all aspects of sarcomatoid mesothelioma, a biopsy is often necessary to gain definitive answers.
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Is There a Cure for Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for sarcomatoid mesothelioma. This rarer type of mesothelioma is usually diagnosed in the late stages, making it difficult to treat and impossible to cure. Treatment options for sarcomatoid mesothelioma may include a combination of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, or targeted therapy. The goal of treatment is typically to provide symptom relief and improve the quality of life for patients. Alternative therapies such as nutritional supplements and herbal remedies are also sometimes used to help manage symptoms in people with sarcomatoid mesothelioma. Despite advances in treatments and medications, survival rates remain poor, and this type of cancer remains incurable.
Treatments for Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma
Due to its uniquely aggressive nature, sarcomatoid mesothelioma usually requires comprehensive treatments that combine surgery with chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Chemotherapy is one of the most common treatments used to help manage this disease. It can be used alone or in combination with other treatments to try to slow down tumor growth and reduce symptoms, relieving the patient and potentially extending their life expectancy by several months.
While radiation therapy has not been proven to be an effective primary treatment option for this type of cancer, it may still play a role in helping patients with sarcomatoid mesothelioma achieve better outcomes. Radiation therapy works by targeting tumor cells with high doses of X-ray or other forms of ionizing radiation in order to kill them off or prevent them from growing further. In some cases, it can also shrink tumors or reduce symptoms such as pain associated with the disease. Depending on the location and size of the tumor(s), doctors may use external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) or brachytherapy (where radioactive sources are placed directly into body cavities). Additionally, newer techniques like stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) have shown promise in treating certain types of sarcomatoid mesotheliomas that cannot be surgically removed.
Immunotherapy has also been used with some success in reducing the severity of sarcomatoid mesothelioma symptoms. Immunotherapy works by stimulating a patient’s immune system response so it can recognize and attack cancer cells more effectively. This type of therapy has been found to help slow tumor growth and relieve symptoms associated with sarcomatoid mesothelioma, such as pain, fatigue, fever, and difficulty breathing.
A sarcomatoid mesothelioma will completely disrupt a family due to the condition’s terminal nature. Even worse, this terrible disease is generally 100% avoidable, but asbestos companies have historically chosen to put people over profit and put many types of professional workers (and their loved ones) at risk. Our compassionate team at SWMW Law can help your family seek justice – because accountability matters. You should not have to bear the financial burdens that come with the untimely loss of a loved one in addition to the emotional toll their passing takes. Our skilled attorneys have dedicated their careers to these cases and have what it takes to secure favorable outcomes. We will work closely with your family throughout each stage of the legal process and fight on your behalf to get you fair compensation for the damage done. Our firm has already recovered over $750 million for our clients, and we are ready to put our experience to work for you.
If your loved one passed away after receiving a sarcomatoid mesothelioma diagnosis, schedule a free initial consultation by calling (855) 744-1922 or contacting us online. We will listen to your story and take the time to walk you through your rights and options – because people matter.
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