Finding treatments for mesothelioma doesn’t always mean trying to find cures.
In many cases, the goal of treatment is to prolong a person’s life and make them more comfortable.
One of the keys to prolonging their life is reducing the speed at which cancer spreads and replicates.
Recently, doctors have started using an external treatment to help slow the replication speed of mesothelioma.
Patients who have a mesothelioma diagnosis will usually undergo surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.
That can usually result in them surviving for 12 to 15 months. Some patients are being offered another option now.
How Does Optune Improve the Outlook for Mesothelioma Patients?
The wearable device that’s being offered to some patients is called Optune. It’s been used for certain types of brain cancer.
It was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration late in 2019.
The increase in life expectancy isn’t much.
Typically, patients who use it will only survive approximately 18 months instead of 12 to 15 months that are usually possible with standard treatments.
Optune consists of four electrodes and a generator and battery pack.
Two electrodes are placed on the front of the body and two are placed on the back of the body.
The electrical currents alternate a few hundred times per minute across the body in an X pattern.
This changes the way the cancer cells divide.
The downside to Optune is that the patients must wear it for 18 hours per day.
The battery is carried in a backpack, and the battery is charged by plugging it into a wall while the patient sleeps.
There is a risk of electrical burns and skin irritation. The skin can turn red beneath the electrodes.
Sweat can cause the electrodes to become loose, which can cause them to heat up. This can lead to blistering.
What Does Optune Cost?
While there is a patient assistance program for individuals who aren’t able to get insurance to cover it, the cost of this treatment is exorbitant.
Optune costs approximately $21,000 per month, and that’s likely something that most patients can’t cover on their own.
Plus, it is only one of the costs that come with this disease.
Patients with this condition should explore their legal rights.
Asbestos trust funds may provide some financial relief for these patients, but they can only access them if they exercise their legal right to hold the asbestos industry accountable for the damages that it caused.