Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer which develops from the protective lining that covers the internal organs of the body such as the lungs, the abdominal cavity and the heart. Environmental or occupational exposure to asbestos is mainly believed to be the cause for this condition. The commonest presentation of malignant mesothelioma is in the pleura which covers the lungs. Common symptoms include breathlessness, chest pain, collection of fluid in the pleura, and general symptoms such as weight loss. Diagnosis of this condition is usually done with the help of chest x-ray, CT scan of the chest and biopsy of the pleura. Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma appear nearly 20 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos. The cancer can spread to other parts of the body and produce different local symptoms. The modern management of this condition involves surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, or a combination of these treatment modalities; however, the overall results are quite poor even with combined treatment. Survival after a confirmed diagnosis of this condition is an average of 1 to 2 years. Exposure to asbestos can have medico-legal implications and this condition is usually associated with lawsuits, seeking compensation for the condition.
Ayurvedic herbal treatment for mesothelioma is aimed at treating the tumour, preventing its spread to other parts of the body, and improving the overall survival rate. Ayurvedic herbal treatment can also be combined with modern management such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Because of the aggressive nature of mesothelioma, Ayurvedic herbal treatment needs to be instituted at the earliest possible. Ayurvedic herbal medicines are required to be given in high doses and for prolonged periods in order to control this condition. Since the commonest presentations of this disease is in the pleura covering the lungs, herbal medicines which have a specific affinity for the lungs and the pleura are used as the mainstay of treatment in the management of this condition. In addition, herbal medicines which have a specific action on the blood tissue are also used in the management of mesothelioma. Medicines are also used to prevent the spread of this condition through the blood and lymphatic circulation. The medicines which are most useful in the management of this condition have an anti-inflammatory effect as well as an anti-cancer effect. The use of such medicines therefore helps in controlling inflammation, infection, as well as actually killing and removing the cancer cells.
In addition to the above treatment, Ayurvedic herbal immunomodulatory agents are also used in high doses in order to boost the immune system of the affected individual so as to help fight against the cancer and bring about a complete remission of the condition at the earliest. A strong immune system also helps to maintain the strength of the affected in individual and brings on a feeling of vigor and vitality. Depending upon the presentation of the disease, symptomatic treatment is also given for symptoms such as chest infection, fever, hemoptysis, pneumothorax, and the formation of pus in the pleural fluid. Herbal medicines also need to be given to flush the dead cancer cells, toxins, and debris generated in the treatment either through the gastrointestinal system or through the kidneys. Medicines useful in the treatment of Mesothelioma include Kantakari (Solanum indicum), Manjishtha (Rubia cordifolia), Saariva (Hemidesmus indicus), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Gokshur (Tribulus terrestris), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis ), Kanchnar Guggulu, and Mahamanjishthadi Qadha.
Most individuals affected with mesothelioma require aggressive Ayurvedic herbal treatment for about 12 to 15 months in order to comprehensively control the condition and significantly improve the survival rate. Ayurvedic herbal treatment thus has a significant contribution to play in the management and treatment of mesothelioma.