Mesothelioma Treatment Options

Patients suffering from mesothelioma must consult an expert for a treatment plan. Many specialists offer innovative emerging therapies that improve prognoses and symptoms.

Mesothelioma is treated by doctors through surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Certain types of mesothelioma may also respond to immunotherapy. Mesothelioma can recur after treatment. Doctors can prevent it from happening again by making the pleura adhere to one another (pleurodesis) or draining fluid using the chest tube (peritoneal Mesothelioma). The best treatment plans incorporate these strategies.


Mesothelioma treatment options are based on the type of mesothelioma that a patient is diagnosed with along with the stage, and other factors such as age. During your initial evaluation the doctor will determine the best mesothelioma treatment for you.

The first step is to perform surgery to eliminate as much of the mesothelioma as possible. The surgeon can also perform other treatments in conjunction with or following the procedure. Mesothelioma treatments can include radiation and chemotherapy. Patients can improve their quality of life by using targeted therapy, immunotherapy and palliative treatments.

Extrapleural pneumonectomy is a sweeping procedure that patients suffering from cancer of the pleural region undergo to remove the tumor and the lung (pleura), a part of the diaphragm and the heart’s pericardial sac (pericardium). Another surgery that can be performed is pleurectomy/decortication (P/D). pericardial mesothelioma treatment takes the pleura, but leaves the affected lung in place. P/D is a less-invasive procedure than EPP, and has shown to increase the chance of survival. Some cancer centers employ heated intraoperative chemotherapy to kill any remaining cancerous cells after surgery.

During surgery the patient is placed under anesthesia. They also receive medications to help them sleep and feel no pain. During this period, the medical staff will gather important details about your health, such as your heart rate and blood pressure.

After procedure, patients will undergo chemotherapy and/or radiation. Chemotherapy can be used to stop mesothelioma’s growth and to kill any cancerous cells that remain after surgery. There are a variety of chemotherapy options used to treat mesothelioma, such as doxorubicin (Adriamycin) as well as cyclophosphamide, pemetrexed. Most often, these drugs are administered via IV.

Radiation is an extremely efficient treatment for mesothelioma since it uses high energy beams to kill cancerous cells. Radiation can be used by itself or in conjunction with other treatment. It is a treatment option for all types of mesothelioma, but it is most likely to be beneficial in cases of mesothelioma of the pericardial or peritoneal region.

Some patients with mesothelioma experience recurrent tumors that come back after treatment. Recurrent mesothelioma could occur in the same location as it did before, or it may expand to other organs such as the liver or brain. People who have recurrent mesothelioma may require additional treatments like targeted therapy or immunotherapy which may improve survival and reduce the risk of the tumor returning.


Chemotherapy is among the most powerful treatments for mesothelioma. Injecting drugs into patients to kill cancerous cells and stop them from growing or spreading is what chemotherapy entails. Mesothelioma specialists may employ chemotherapy on its own or in combination with other treatment options such as radiation therapy or immunotherapy.

The type of cancer and stage of the disease will determine the most effective treatment for a patient. Doctors can use a few different chemotherapy drugs, but the standard treatments include pemetrexed and cisplatin. Pemetrexed works to kill mesothelioma cancers by targeting cells that make proteins that cancer cells require to develop. Cisplatin is an anticancer drug, attaches itself to the DNA of mesothelioma cells and causes them die. These drugs can be administered either intravenously or orally.

During a mesothelioma surgery doctors may also perform chemotherapy intraoperatively. The heated chemotherapy drugs are released into the chest or abdominal cavity while the surgeon is performing. This treatment is used to eliminate any microscopic tumors that the surgeon cannot see following surgery.

Mesothelioma patients can also receive adjuvant chemotherapy following their surgery. Many doctors will wait until mesothelioma is gone before recommending this treatment. The reason is because surgery procedures used to treat mesothelioma can be so extensive that a patient might not be healthy enough to undergo chemotherapy right away after procedure.

If mesothelioma develops again the treatment will be focused on removing the cancer and relieving symptoms. Some people will do everything to eliminate their cancer, whereas others may prefer to control it and live as symptom-free as is possible. If a patient is diagnosed with recurrent mesothelioma it is crucial to discuss the issue with their physician and weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each option together. A patient might also want to take part in a study that tests new mesothelioma treatment. These trials can test new combinations of standard treatments or a different mesothelioma treatment. Certain studies have demonstrated for instance, that immunotherapy can be a beneficial treatment for mesothelioma recurrently diagnosed.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy employs particles or rays that are high-energy to kill cancerous cells. Doctors who treat mesothelioma usually prescribe radiation therapy after surgery or in combination with other treatment options. It can also be used as a palliative for symptoms such as breathlessness or pain. The most recent types of radiation have better control, making it easier to target tumors and avoid nearby healthy tissue.

The type of mesothelioma and the location of it determine the treatment options that are most suitable for you. You can also discuss experimental treatments with your physician like immunotherapy. Clinical trials are research studies which evaluate the safety and efficacy of new treatments or medications. These trials are carried out with patients who are willing to participate.

A mesothelioma specialist can help you locate an appropriate clinical trial for you.

Surgery can reduce the size of tumors, and also ease symptoms. However, it isn’t able to cure mesothelioma. It’s possible that the cancer will return or spread to other areas of the body. This is the reason that most mesothelioma sufferers are treated with a mix of therapies.

For pleural mesothelioma, surgical options include pleurectomy/decortication (P/D) and extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP). The pleura is removed in P/D. This thin membrane lines the lungs, chest wall and lining of the lung. It is also able to remove visible tumors on the chest or lung wall. EPP is more extensive and is usually used in later-stage mesothelioma. This procedure involves removing all of the lung tissue, diaphragm, the pleura, and any visible tumors.

After pleural mesothelioma surgery, doctors may utilize radiation to try to kill any microscopic areas of cancer that weren’t eliminated during the procedure. Adjuvant mesothelioma radiotherapy is called. It can also be used to treat symptoms such as chest discomfort, breathing difficulties, or difficulties swallowing in peritoneal cancer patients prior to the procedure is known as cytoreduction using heated chemotherapy (HIPEC).

Radiation can trigger long-term side effects. The most common are fatigue and skin changes. In rare cases lung damage that is long-term can result in permanent breathing issues or esophageal narrowing. It is important to discuss these risks with your doctor before making a decision about radiation.


Cancer is caused by genetic mutations which cause abnormal cells to multiply uncontrollably. As the cells multiply, they form tumors that destroy healthy tissue. In time the tumors grow throughout the body, causing symptoms such fatigue, pain and breathing difficulties. The mesothelium is a protective cover for organs that shields them from lung cancers caused by asbestos.

When doctors diagnose mesothelioma, they start with physical examination and take a detailed record of your exposure to asbestos. They will also perform medical tests, which include blood work and different types of scans. These scans provide an extremely high-resolution view of your body and may reveal symptoms of mesothelioma like the accumulation of fluid around the lung or cancerous growths. X-rays are the most common imaging test used to detect mesothelioma. However doctors will often request more advanced scans, such as CT, PET and MRI. Doctors can also conduct a biopsy in order to confirm a mesothelioma diagnosis and ensure that the cancer hasn’t spread.

Mesothelioma is not curable by doctors in most patients, but can manage the disease through chemotherapy and other treatments. The goal is removing mesothelioma as much as possible and reducing the likelihood that the cancer will recur.

In patients with advanced mesothelioma, doctors may perform a pleurodesis to prevent the buildup of fluid in the lungs. Or, they may place an incision in the chest for regular drainage of liquids that are not needed. They may also attempt to stop the tumors from growing by making the outer layer of the lungs stick to the inside of the lung (extrapleural pneumonectomy) or shrink them using radiation therapy (extrapleural and pleurectomy).

Immunotherapy is an innovative treatment that utilizes medications to stimulate your immune system to fight cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved these drugs including Keytruda and Opdivo to be used in clinical trials for mesothelioma. This is an effective treatment that could result in better outcomes for some patients. The treatment can result in negative side effects, such as fatigue, fever, and chills. However, they are less serious than more aggressive treatments.

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