Radiation Treatment in Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma patients can undergo radiation therapy as part of their pleural mesothelioma treatment program. It can help reduce the likelihood that cancer will return after surgery.

Radiation therapy uses ionizing radiation that damages DNA within cells and eliminates them. It can be given either prior to or following surgery.

Doctors often combine chemotherapy with it to boost the chances of success. It can also help reduce symptoms such as shortness of breath by shrinking tumors.

External beam radiation therapy (EBRT)

This treatment makes use of x-rays or particles that come from a machine outside the body to kill cancer cells. It can be administered prior to or after surgery and chemotherapy to eliminate cancerous cells in the area and also as a palliative treatment to ease symptoms such as breathlessness. Mesotheliomas don’t grow as single distinct tumors, therefore it’s difficult to target radiation towards them, while preserving healthy tissues. However, newer techniques are helping overcome this issue.

Radiation specialists create detailed images using computers of the tumor and healthy tissues nearby. These images help them decide the amount of radiation to use and where it should be directed. This information is used by a large machine to position the radiation beam on the tumor in a precise manner. Most types of EBRT involve having treatments five days a week for weeks, although some patients require less treatments. Each session lasts between 15 and 30 minutes. However, the majority of time is spent preparing the patient for the treatment.

The type of EBRT that is used to treat mesothelioma will depend on the location of the tumors and the overall health of the patient. It could be a standard EBRT known as three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy (3D-CRT) or an advanced technique such as intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). In some instances, it can be combined with a specific treatment method like stereotactic radiation therapy for larger tumors, or with other treatments methods like intraoperative radiation treatment for smaller tumors that can’t be treated surgically.

Proton beam radiation therapy is another alternative for radiation therapy. It involves aiming particle beams like protons or heliumions, at a tumor from different angles. This allows for targeted treatment that is more precise and reduces damage to nearby healthy organs and tissues. In Australia, proton radiation treatment for mesothelioma has not become common.

A second type of radiation, intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT), is used in conjunction with surgery to eliminate any mesothelioma that could not be removed surgically. It’s a simple procedure that takes just some minutes to perform.

Intensity-modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)

For pleural mesothelioma patients, IMRT allows the doctor to treat the tumor, while protecting healthy tissue. The treatment utilizes a medical linear acceleration (LINAC) device that emits X-rays or photons to target the tumor. The machine rotates so that the beam can be positioned at different angles, so that all areas are treated. This allows the doctor deliver an increased dose to the tumor, while also protecting the healthy tissues surrounding it from injury.

IMRT is a method of Image-Guided Radiation Therapy, which assists the doctor in determining the exact location of the cancer. IGRT utilizes computerized imaging like CT scans or Xrays, as well as MRI scans, if available to assist the radiation oncologist to locate mesothelioma and its surrounding areas accurately. Once the target area has been identified, the IMRT can be used to develop an effective treatment strategy that targets the mesothelioma in a precise manner.

The IMRT system allows the doctor to tailor treatment according to the unique anatomy of each patient, which reduces the adverse effects. Radiation oncologists typically provide patients with five daily IMRT treatments each week, lasting between five and eight consecutive weeks. Each session is between 15 and 30 minutes. The little amount of radiation that is offered on a daily basis helps reduce damage to the body’s normal tissues. It is important to note that a break on weekends is often needed so that the healthy tissues of the body can heal.

The IMRT technique has produced positive results for patients suffering from mesothelioma that affects the head and neck. It is particularly beneficial for tumors that are close to radiosensitive structures like parotids. A recent study has found that IMRT could deliver a large dose of radiation to the cancer without damaging the adjacent parotid. The parotid glands that were spared recovered to 63% of their pre-treatment level, compared to just 3 percent in patients receiving conventional radiation. This is an encouraging result however more research is required. To confirm these preliminary findings large-scale IMRT trials will be needed.


Radiation can shrink a tumor and reduce symptoms when doctors are unable to remove mesothelioma. Palliative treatment is what this is known as. Doctors utilize it in conjunction with other treatments like chemotherapy and neoadjuvant treatments to extend the life duration.

Radiation therapy is the use of x-rays to destroy cancerous cells in an outside device. New methods, such as IMRT, allow doctors to better target the area surrounding the tumor, and limit radiation damage.

Radiation can be used to kill cancerous cells inside the body. In brachytherapy, doctors insert a sealed radioactive source within or near the mesothelioma. This can be done with a catheter or an applicator. Doctors can administer radiation doses via a device situated outside the body in order to target the source of. This is called external radiation therapy (EBRT).

In brachytherapy, doctors are able to offer patients either pulsed dose or high dose rates of radiation. The former involves patients staying in the hospital for a period of two weeks and receiving daily 10-minute sessions. High-dose brachytherapy requires a bigger machine with longer exposure time, is not as common.

Another form of brachytherapy employs protons instead of x-rays. Protons are physical particles and are therefore less likely be absorbed by tissues. This may lead to less damage in the surrounding area. However, this form of radiation is more expensive and is not as widely available as xrays.

Mesothelioma patients may have to undergo radiation therapy for a few weeks or more. This can be extremely difficult to endure. Patients should talk to their doctor about the adverse effects they could encounter during treatment. They should also consult their doctors for tips on minimizing adverse effects.

As part of a multimodal plan for treatment mesothelioma patients may also benefit from immunotherapy and genetic therapy. Immunotherapy boosts the immune system, and mesothelioma patients who have received chemotherapy may benefit from immunotherapies to improve their chemotherapy regimen.

Mesothelioma researchers are also looking into ways to improve mesothelioma results using radiation therapy. One option is to combine brachytherapy and immunotherapy, which involves injecting cells that are infused with the drug Yervoy into the chest cavity. This treatment has shown promise in clinical trials. Gene therapy is a different treatment that involves reprogramming genes in mesothelioma cancer cells or repairing them to stop their growth and make them more prone to chemotherapies.

Therapy for radiation following surgery

Radiation therapy isn’t an effective treatment for mesothelioma but it can significantly improve the patient’s chances of survival. When used as part of a multimodal treatment approach and treatment, radiation therapy can shrink mesothelioma tumors, and reduce pain and discomfort caused by cancer. It can also reduce the chance of spreading mesothelioma cells during surgery or after the removal of a lung tumor (known as “seeding”).

Mesothelioma radiation therapy typically involves multiple sessions that last approximately 30 minutes. The treatment may be uncomfortable because the radiation oncologist and technicians require positioning the patient and keep them in the correct position.

Before the session starts, patients are advised to dress comfortably. They should also avoid wearing any metal, which could interfere with the accuracy of the equipment. Patients should also take small meals throughout the day to prevent nausea caused by the treatments.

Depending on the patient’s specific health condition, patients may be offered a standard or brachytherapy type of radiation. In conventional radiation therapy doctors use an accelerator machine to deliver radiation. This is the most commonly used form of mesothelioma treatment. It is typically used to treat mesothelioma pleural that grows on the lung’s lining.

Brachytherapy is a specialized treatment that utilizes a source of radiation placed within the body. Implants can be permanently or temporarily put in. When the doctor inserts the implant into the patient, they must take care to ensure that the cancerous tissues are targeted, not surrounding organs.

Researchers are examining the possibility of combining radiation therapy with surgical procedures in certain mesothelioma trials for patients with resectable mesothelioma. One example is the SMART trial. This treatment plan for experimental purposes involves giving patients hemithoracic radiation before they undergo extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP). This combination of treatments enables doctors to give patients more radiation doses and decrease the chance of mesothelioma post-surgery seeding.

A mesothelioma patient can experience full or partial remission. stage 2 mesothelioma treatments means that the tumor has diminished in size, or has even vanished entirely. Some patients have experienced remission for years, and have lived past their initial prognosis.

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