Mesothelioma Radiation Treatment

Treatment for mesothelioma with radiation makes use of X radiation and other energy beams in order to shrink tumors and stop their growth or spread. It can be utilized at any stage to prolong life or relieve symptoms.

Radiation is also used by surgeons prior to surgery to shrink the tumor, which makes it easier for surgeons. It is also possible to make use of it to kill cancerous cells which remain after surgery and to prevent a repeat.

External beam radiation therapy (EBRT)

Radiation therapy utilizes high-energy beams of X-rays or particles that kill cancerous cells. Mesothelioma tumors typically grow as multiple, small areas of tissue, which makes it difficult to direct radiation at the tumor, and spare nearby healthy tissues. New techniques allow doctors more precisely target the tumour and minimize the damage to other parts of the human body. Radiation therapy can also be utilized following chemotherapy or surgery to destroy any remaining cancer cells. It can be given alone or as part of palliative treatment to treat mesothelioma symptoms like breathing difficulty and discomfort.

For mesothelioma new treatment , doctors utilize an instrument to direct radiation towards the mesothelioma tumor from outside the body of the patient. The doctors use a CT, MRI, or PET scan to determine the exact location of mesothelioma. They then devise a strategy for delivering radiation to the affected area while limiting damage surrounding tissue. Radiation oncologists may mark your skin with tiny dots to find the affected area. They will also mark the treatment field, which is the area which needs to be treated.

You will lie down on a treatment bed and an instrument will be positioned over the area of your body that is affected by mesothelioma. You might be asked to change positions several times throughout your session but you will not be able to feel or sense the machine moving around you. During the procedure, you might hear whirring or clicking sounds coming from the machine. The radiation doctor will monitor you from an observation room.

EBRT is usually performed once a day for 5 days each week for 2 to 8 weeks. Depending on the type of radiation used and the goal of treatment, you will receive different treatments. Certain types of EBRT, such as intensity-modulated radiation therapy or IMRT make use of computers to more accurately target the tumor and limit radiation exposure to nearby tissues.

Other forms of radiation such as proton beam radiation or SBRT utilize particles instead of X ray. The proton beam radiation damages DNA of cancer cells and causes them to die faster than normal cells. This type of treatment can be more precise than EBRT, but it’s not yet widely employed for mesothelioma.

Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)

Intensity-modulated radiation therapy uses 3-D computed tomography (CT) images of the patient as well as computerized dose calculations to align radiation beams to the three-dimensional shape of the tumor. This allows higher radiation doses to be given to the tumor while minimizing exposure to organs and tissues around it. It can also be used to treat other cancers like prostate cancer, lung cancer, head and neck tumours and Sarcomas.

In studies of patients with tumours that are complex, IMRT produced superior dose distributions and lower toxicity compared with conventional radiation methods. Radiation oncologists design their mesothelioma treatment plan and use IMRT in order to ensure that the radiation is directed towards the correct part of the body. The radiation oncologist consults with the patient and obtains informed consent before determining whether IMRT is appropriate for mesothelioma treatment.

Together the radiation oncologist with the medical physicist create an individualized IMRT treatment plan for mesothelioma. The radiation therapists then carry out the actual treatments using IMRT. During the sessions, the patient is lying on a table. Patients may hear sounds or smell odors from the equipment, however they shouldn’t feel pain. The radiation oncologist and medical physicist remain outside of the room to observe from a safe distance.

During an IMRT session an oncologist who is a radiation specialist may alter the intensity of radiation to better target the tumour. The radiation oncologist can also alter the intensity of the beams to safeguard vital structures such as the heart and large vessels.

At MSKCC the MSKCC team of radiation oncologists have used IMRT to treat mesothelioma for more than a decade. Their findings indicate that IMRT improves the function of the lungs, survival, and reduces adverse effects such as radiation pneumonitis or radiation esophagitis. The mesothelioma cases examined had mesothelioma pleural biopsy-proven in the hemithorax, but they were not candidates for P/D or resection because of impairment in lung function. They were treated with IMRT in the hemithorax with or without pleurectomy. In the patients who received IMRT the overall survival was 70 percent at one year, and 53 percent after two years.


The use of radiation therapy is to destroy cancerous cells in mesothelioma, a cancer that is extremely aggressive. It also shrinks tumors, making them easier to remove via surgery. It is a type of targeted treatment that employs narrow beams to avoid damaging healthy tissues around.

Radiation therapy can be used by itself or in conjunction with other cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy. Many patients with mesothelioma also receive chemotherapy supplemental to lower the risk of cancer recurring after surgery and to improve the effectiveness of their treatment.

Brachytherapy is the process of placing a radioactive substance near or inside a mesothelioma tumor. This enables doctors to deliver higher doses radiation to tumor. Doctors can choose to use a 137Caesium or Iridium source to treat this condition, which requires hospitalization. The patient is in a shielded room with the source for 12-24 hours. Patients may experience short-term side effects from the procedure, such as a rash on the area of the implant and small amounts of bleeding from the area where the applicator was inserted.

Another option is high-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy which involves placing multiple radioactive sources in the area around the tumor, and then providing a higher amount of radiation over longer durations of time. The procedure typically lasts between three and five days, and involves an overnight stay in a hospital. This type of brachytherapy can cause short-term adverse effects. These include soreness and bleeding at the location where the applicators are placed.

Because mesothelioma typically develops as an layered mass, it can be difficult to target with radiation. Newer technology allows radiation doctors to focus on the tumor with greater precision and also avoid the surrounding tissues.

In certain cases mesothelioma patients are given brachytherapy as part of an operative procedure known as Neoadjuvant therapy, or as an adjuvant post-surgical treatment to kill any lingering mesothelioma tumors that the surgeon was unable to completely remove. In addition, some mesothelioma patients are treated with brachytherapy alongside pleurectomy/decortication and conventional radiation therapy as a palliative treatment for their symptoms.

Proton beam radiation

Radiation oncologists focus on mesothelioma cancers in specific regions of the body. This type of treatment allows for an accurate approach and minimizes the risk of exposing healthy tissues to radiation at high levels. Patients suffering from mesothelioma should talk about proton radiation therapy with their doctor to determine if this is the best treatment for them.

Radiation oncologists create a plan to treat cancerous tissue prior to beginning the proton beam treatment. Utilizing a computer program, dosimetrists calculate the exact amount of radiation to be delivered to the area. The doctors also decide the location in the body where to distribute the radiation and how deep into the body it needs to travel. Dosimetrists pass the data to a physicist who makes use of a device called a synchrotron in order to accelerate protons to the energy needed to treat.

Once the protons have reached the treatment area they are directed at the tumor using a method that resembles an CT scanner. The patient will be placed on a table that shifts to the exact shape of the tumors. The physicist will then use an instrument that rotates the proton beam’s nozzle around the patient to ensure that the radiation is directed to all the areas of the tumor from the most optimal angles.

A gantry device is used to direct and shape the proton beam. The gantry is surrounded by an immobilization frame that ensures that the patient remains still during treatment. A computer manages the gantry. It is monitored from a nearby room by a team of radiation technicians. The radiation oncologist may change the treatment plan on each week’s appointments if required.

In contrast to traditional photon radiation proton beam radiation doesn’t penetrate the lung’s tissues as deep. This means that there is less risk of radiation-related complications like toxicity and growth of mesothelioma cancer cells which are resistant.

Protone beams can be used to target mesothelioma tumors in the lung’s pleural lining and abdomen. It is important that patients work with mesothelioma experts who have expertise using proton radiation.

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