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Radiotherapy Provides Mesothelioma Pain Relief

For those who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, one of the most difficult and challenging aspects of the disease is the pain that it causes. This is particularly true for late stage malignant pleural mesothelioma, where the tumors become large enough that they impact breathing. But researchers in Europe have recently completed a study that provides concrete evidence that radiotherapy can be used to provide effective relief from this discomfort, and provides a significant improvement to quality of life in that regard.

The study was conducted by cancer researchers in Scotland and Norway. The scientists involved reported that though the protocol of providing radiation therapy to relieve pain is common, it has not been extensively studied or quantified. They conducted a multi-center phase II clinical trial to investigate the extent of relief provided by the practice, assessing patients for their baseline pain and then following them as they completed a course of radiation therapy treatment with 20 Gy of radiation in five daily doses. The impact of the protocol was gauged five weeks following the treatment, as well as twelve weeks afterwards.

The use of radiation effectively reduces the size of mesothelioma tumors that are located in the lining of the lung. This alleviates pressure and can also aid in making breathing easier.

The group found that of the forty patients who were involved in the study, five of them indicated that they were pain free, and another 14 indicated clinically meaningful relief of their pain in the assessment one five weeks after the radiation was administered. The patients were also evaluated for improvements in mood, quality of life, shortness of breath and any side effects caused by the treatment. According to the study’s author Dr. Nicholas MacLeod of the Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre in Scotland, “Based on a complete case analysis of the thirty patients assessable at week five, 47 percent of patients alive at week five had an improvement in their pain.”

The study’s authors indicated that the protocol was effective for pain control in the treatment of mesothelioma, though it provided no significant or measurable impact on their other symptoms. Armed with that positive indication, they are suggesting that additional research be done in order to determine exactly what dosage and protocol yield the most effective results for patients.

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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