People who have a serious cancer disease known as malignant Mesothelioma face an uphill battle against it, but there is hope in new treatments that are generated in clinical trial studies. A clinical trial is a carefully monitored test in which volunteers participate to test the effectiveness of new drugs or medical procedures. The testing is done as part of development of new drugs and treatments for diseases that are serious, like Mesothelioma.

If you have been diagnosed with malignant Mesothelioma, your doctor may recommend that you also participate in current clinical trials that are focusing on this type of cancer. If the drug tested is effective, you would then have a head start in getting results that could halt the disease or lengthen your life expectancy. Mesothelioma trials are available in different parts of the country; information about these clinical trials also can be found online at and other websites.

Malignant Mesothelioma

Millions of people were exposed to asbestos minerals during the mid-20th Century. These materials were widely used in building products, insulation, flooring, shingles and other places like vehicle brakes and clutches where resistance to heat and fire were needed. It was discovered later that the tiny fiber particles of that group of minerals could detach and cause cancer after being accidentally inhaled or ingested. In addition to asbestos, other minerals classified as asbestos minerals include chrysotile, amosite, tremolite, crocidolite, anthophyllite, and actinolite.

When the asbestos fibers enter the body, they lodge in thin tissue linings of the chest wall and various organs, including the lungs, heart and other organ linings. Once attached, the fibers create inflammation and irritation that develops into cancer cells. A lump may form there or under nearby skin, and loose cancer cells may find their way to other soft tissue linings elsewhere in the body. This process eventually develops into symptoms like pain, coughing, difficulty breathing, and other problems.

Once symptoms are detected, the afflicted person may seek medical attention. The worst aspect of this pattern is that development of symptoms can take several decades to appear. Meanwhile, the cancer is doing its damage, leading to a very poor prognosis for life expectancy. The person with Mesothelioma cancer also is much older, another factor that shortens life expectancy rates. Surgery, if possible, is the best course of action in most cases, because it can remove the cancer. In many cases, surgery is not possible, so the patient is put on a course of treatment that may include radiation, chemotherapy or other currently available drugs.

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials have been created to find solutions to help fight this deadly form of cancer. The life expectancy of patients with malignant Mesothelioma is very limited, in many cases averaging just 12 to 21 months. The 5-year survival rate is a mere 5% to 10%, and persons over age 65 have lower rates than younger patients. With such a long development stage before symptoms are noticed, it could be 30 to 50 years before this cancer is diagnosed. In past years there were about 3000 new cases yearly, but this is expected to increase due to the timing, since general exposure to asbestos was common in the mid-1900s and only now is it being diagnosed.

To develop new drugs and new treatments to better help people affected by malignant Mesothelioma, clinical trials are created. Participation in clinical trials has helped many people who were suffering from deadly diseases like Mesothelioma cancer. These clinical trials are conducted prior to putting a particular drug on the general market. Testing is done in advance of release to determine if a new drug is indeed effective against a specific disease, including Mesothelioma.

In a clinical trial, people who suffer from a particular disease join others to develop a data base of information about a new drug and its effectiveness in use against their disease. Many new drugs are not available elsewhere until after clinical trials are run and data proves the drug to be effective. Finding a clinical trial is a matter to discuss with your doctor or cancer specialist. They should have current information, but you also can find possibilities online at reputable websites like the American Cancer Society.

Various organizations currently offer clinical trials for Mesothelioma, including the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. They are always testing new ways to fight against Mesothelioma and may offer treatment options that are not available elsewhere. The American Cancer Center offers a free Clinical Trials Matching Service online to help patients with Mesothelioma locate ongoing clinical trials they may be eligible to join. Another interesting opportunity may be found at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Their program works to match tumor-related genetic mutations with specific drugs that would target any corresponding abnormality. This is different than other programs, because this one is based on a molecular cause of the cancer instead of origin or source of the cancer.

Some financial aid is also available to those participating in clinical trials. Dealing with cancer is expensive and people who want to get involved in research projects like clinical trials need help with travel to clinical trial sites and with other medical expenses. Insurance companies do not always cover the costs of experimental therapies, clinical trials or certain diagnostic tests. There are some financial aid options available for clinical trial participants, including a Mesothelioma trust fund.

A Chance for Success

Malignant Mesothelioma has been studied now for many decades. Because of this disease, asbestos use has been cut drastically, and special precautions for handling are in effect. There still are millions of persons who may someday face this deadly and rare form of cancer because of their contact with asbestos products in previous decades. Many others may have contracted Mesothelioma just from being near to another person who worked with asbestos products, because of small fibers that were transferred to other locations on clothing or hair.

Clinical Trials are the first line of new defenses against this disease. It is worth considering if you are diagnosed with malignant Mesothelioma. You may be able to participate in the testing of a new drug or treatment process that could stop this cancer in its tracks. Take time to investigate your options for joining a Mesothelioma clinical trial. It could increase your life expectancy now, before it’s too late.