Individuals who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma have been very limited on the possible treatments they’ll undergo. In Oct. 2020, the Food and Drug Administration added one more possible treatment option to the approved list. It gave the green light for a two-drug combination to be the first-line treatment for pleural mesothelioma that isn’t able to be removed through surgical means.
The two drugs that are included in this approval are nivolumab and ipilimumab, which are commonly referred to by their brand names of Opdivo and Yervoy, respectively. These two drugs, when used in combination with each other, are also approved to treat non-small cell lung cancer and a specific form of thoracic cancer.
The indications that lead to this approval point to these drugs being able to improve the overall survival of patients who are suffering from malignant pleural mesothelioma. This is a fatal form of cancer that has a primary risk factor of asbestos exposure.
People who have this type of mesothelioma can suffer from a variety of symptoms. These include:
- Shortness of breath
- Pain in the chest
- Coughing that’s painful
- Weight loss that’s unexpected and unexplained
- Lumps of tissue on the chest beneath the skin
The survival rate for this type of cancer is poor, with around 10% of people who are diagnosed in the advanced stage living five years after diagnosis. Another point that’s troublesome about this type of cancer is that it can appear long after the asbestos exposure. For some people, this might be 20 to 60 years later or even longer.
Individuals who have mesothelioma have a rough journey ahead. The medical care is often intensive and expensive. They may choose to pursue compensation to help defray those costs and enable them to focus on their health and making family memories.