Mesothelioma is a rare but aggressive type of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. 70% of the cases occur in the lining of the lungs, the pleura, and it is known as pleural mesothelioma. Other forms include peritoneal mesothelioma, which occurs in the lining of the abdomen – the peritoneum, pericardial mesothelioma, developed in the pericardium of the heart, and testicular mesothelioma, which occurs in the tunica vaginalis testis. There is no cure for mesothelioma, but there are treatments to help patients cope with the symptoms such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. However, in advanced stages of the disease, palliative care may be the recommended treatment option.
“The role of palliative care in the medical management of malignant mesothelioma is multifaceted, requiring proficiency in multiple disciplines. Pain management is a key aspect of this care. The most common sources of pain are post-thoracotomy syndrome, chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, involvement of the intercostal nerves by tumor invading the chest wall, and dyspnea. The palliative care provider also must be prepared to recognize and treat psychological disorders, to identify other social and spiritual sources of distress, including anxiety and depression, and to provide or arrange for counseling to patient and family for advance care planning, as well as grief and bereavement.” explain the authors of the study “Palliative care for the patient with mesothelioma.”
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