Mesothelioma is one of the deadliest and rarest forms of cancer, a cancer that is almost always connected to exposure to asbestos. It is a hard to cure and life-threatening disease that typically carries a very poor prognosis after initial diagnosis. What makes it hard to cure is that its symptoms often imitate those from other minor illnesses and usually show after a long period of time. This often results in late diagnosis, usually 10-50 years after the initial diagnosis.
Is Mesothelioma Always Fatal?
Well, the answer to this question is NO- mesothelioma is not always fatal. There are numerous cases of patients who have managed to beat the disease and lived for many years. Others have greatly improved their prognosis and lived more than a decade after the initial diagnosis. This is incredibly amazing considering that the average survival rate for mesothelioma patients is estimated to be 12-21 months.
Thanks to breakthroughs in traditional, alternative treatments, and emerging treatments from clinical trials, a growing number of mesothelioma survivors are continuous to extend their lifespans. After undergoing these treatments, some survivors have even passed the 10-year mark and continue to serve as a living testimony that mesothelioma is really beatable.
A good example of a mesothelioma survivor is Andy, a 66-year-old pleural mesothelioma survivor who is still thriving after undergoing a clinical trial involving an experimental immunotherapy drug known as Amatuximab (MORab-009).
“I guess I’m an anomaly. I’m doing great right now. I don’t look like a Stage four cancer patient. ” Andy said from his home in S. California.
Amatuximab is typically an antibody that specifically targets mesothelin, a protein that is over-expressed in several types of cancers. The immunotherapy drug works by binding to mesothelin and triggers a natural immune response, thus allowing it to stop cancer growth.
Wayne N. is another notable mesothelioma survivor. Years later after working as a union electrician in Ohio, Wayne was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 1991, which forced him to retire early. At 80, he is still alive and thriving. The former electrician attributes his long survival to eating red tart cherries every day for more than two decades. Red tart cherries are packed with antioxidants like melatonin which may have killed off the cancerous tumors. (Read: 10 super foods that fight cancer naturally!)
These are just but a few cases of mesothelioma survivors and proof that the disease is not always fatal. However, the ability to survive depends on the individual, the type of treatment option, the stage of the disease, an even spontaneous regression.
Spontaneous Regression of Mesothelioma
There have been several reports of spontaneous regression of malignant mesothelioma, although the exact mechanism is unknown. Spontaneous tumor regression is the spontaneous remission or disappearance of a tumor in the absence of any treatment.
Although spontaneous regression of mesothelioma is less common, a few cases have been documented. A good example is a 73-year old Japanese man with pleural mesothelioma who underwent surgery to remove the tumor. The tumor grew back after some time, as is common with many tumors. The patient then tried a complementary therapy involving a mushroom extract known as Agaricus blazei Murill Kyowa and parasympathetic nerve stimulation, a special type of acupuncture. The tumor began to shrink and after a period of four months, it had completely disappeared. For a period of 29 months, the patient was in total remission. A CT scan later showed slow tumor growth. Since then, the patient has continued his complementary therapies and is thriving well.
This concludes that although mesothelioma is a deadly form of cancer, it is not always fatal.
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