Radiation Treatment in Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma patients may undergo radiation treatment as part of their pleural mesothelioma treatment plan. It may reduce the chance that cancer will come back after surgery.
Radiation therapy uses ionizing radiation that damages DNA within cells and destroys them. It can be administered prior to or after surgery.
Doctors often combine it chemotherapy to boost the effectiveness of surgical procedures. It can also reduce symptoms such as breath shortness by shrinking tumors.
External beam radiation therapy (EBRT)
The treatment involves x-rays, or particles from a machine outside the body to kill cancer cells. It can be used before or after surgery, chemotherapy, or both to kill cancerous cells in the affected region. It can also be used as a palliative treatment to relieve symptoms like breathing problems. Mesotheliomas aren’t able to grow as one distinct tumors, therefore it can be difficult to target radiation at them while protecting healthy tissue. tumor treating fields mesothelioma are helping overcome this issue.
Radiation specialists create detailed images using computers of the tumor and healthy tissues nearby. These images assist them in deciding how much radiation to apply and where it should be directed. This information is used to direct a large machine that positions the beam of radiation precisely over the tumor. Most EBRT types require treatment five days a week for weeks, though some patients require fewer treatments. Each session is between 15 to 30 minutes, but most of the time is spent ensuring that the patient is in the correct position for the treatment.
The kind of EBRT that is used to treat mesothelioma will rely 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 like intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). In some cases it could be paired with a specific method, such as stereotactic body radiation therapy to treat larger tumors or with other treatment options like intraoperative radiation therapy to treat smaller tumors that cannot be removed surgically.
Proton beam radiation therapy is another option for radiation treatment. It involves aiming beams of particles like protons or heliumions, towards the site of the tumor from different angles. This allows for more precise targeting and less damage to nearby healthy tissues and organs. However proton beam radiation therapy is not often employed in Australia for mesothelioma.
Another form of radiation is intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) that is used in conjunction with surgery to try and eliminate any mesothelioma that can’t be removed surgically. This is a fast procedure that takes just a few minutes to perform.
Intensity-modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
IMRT is a procedure that allows doctors to treat tumors without causing harm to healthy tissue. It is a procedure that uses a medical linear accelerator (LINAC) machine that produces photons, also known as X-rays, to focus on the tumor and the surrounding tissue. The machine is able to rotate around the patient allowing the beam to be placed at various angles to ensure that every area is being treated. This allows the doctor to administer an increased dose to the tumor while protecting the healthy tissues surrounding it from injury.
IMRT is utilized in conjunction with Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) which allows the doctor to target the exact area of the cancer. IGRT makes use of computerized images like CT scans, X-rays and MRI scans if available, to assist the radiation oncologist locate mesothelioma in a precise manner. Once the area of interest is located, IMRT can be used to create an treatment plan that targets the mesothelioma in a precise manner.
The IMRT system allows the doctor to tailor treatment to the unique anatomy of each patient, thereby reducing the adverse negative effects. Radiation oncologists typically offer patients five daily IMRT treatments every week, for five to eight consecutive weeks. Each session is between 15 and 30 minutes. The daily dose of radiation helps safeguard the body’s normal tissue. It is important to note also that a weekend break is often required to ensure that the healthy tissues of the body can heal.
The IMRT technique has shown good results for patients with mesothelioma in the neck and head. It is particularly effective for tumors located near radiosensitive structures such as the parotid glands, as a recent study showed that IMRT allows a significant dose to be delivered to the cancer while sparing the neighbouring parotid gland. The parotid glands that were spared recovered to 63 percent of their pre-treatment levels in comparison to just 3 percent in patients who receive conventional radiation. This is a promising outcome however, more research is needed. Large-scale trials using IMRT will be needed to confirm the preliminary findings.
If doctors aren’t able to eliminate mesothelioma in its entirety it is possible to shrink the tumor and reduce symptoms. Palliative treatment is what this is known as. Doctors combine it with other treatments, such as chemotherapy and neoadjuvant therapies to maximize a patient’s lifespan.
Radiation therapy involves the use of x-rays to kill cancerous cells from an outside machine. With the development of new techniques like IMRT, doctors can better focus on the region around the tumor and minimize radiation damage to surrounding tissues.
Radiation therapy can be used to kill cancerous cells inside the body. In brachytherapy doctors place a radioactive source that is sealed material in or near mesothelioma. This can be done with a catheter or applicator. Doctors can administer radiation doses from a machine that is outside the body in order to target the source of. This is referred to as external beam radiation therapy (EBRT).
Doctors can use either high-dose or pulsed-dose radiation for the treatment of brachytherapy. With the former, patients stay in the hospital and may receive 10-minute sessions every day for two weeks. High-dose brachytherapy isn’t as popular because it requires a bigger device and longer exposure times.
Another type of brachytherapy uses protons instead of x-rays. Because they are physical particles protons don’t absorb into the tissue as easily and can cause less damage to the surrounding tissues. This type of radiation however, is more expensive and not as widely accessible as the x-rays.
Mesothelioma patients may have to undergo radiation therapy for several weeks or more. This can be difficult to bear. Patients should discuss with their doctor any adverse reactions they may encounter during treatment. They should also ask their doctor for suggestions on minimizing the effects.
As part of a multimodal plan for treatment mesothelioma patients can also benefit from immunotherapy and genetic therapy. Immunotherapy improves your immune system. Patients with mesothelioma who have already undergone chemotherapy can benefit from immunotherapies.
Mesothelioma researchers are also looking at ways to improve mesothelioma outcomes with radiation therapy. One approach is to combine brachytherapy and immunotherapy by injecting cells which are infused with the drug Yervoy into the chest cavity. Clinical trials have proven that this treatment works. Gene therapy is a different treatment that involves replacing mesothelioma cancer cell genes or repairing them to suppress their growth and make them more vulnerable to chemotherapies.
Therapy for radiation following surgery
Radiation therapy is not a cure for mesothelioma, however it can greatly improve the patient’s chances of survival. When used in conjunction with other treatment options, can shrink tumors of mesothelioma and lessen the discomfort and pain that cancer causes. It also reduces the chance of mesothelioma cells expanding during surgery or after the removal of a lung tumor (known as seeding).
Mesothelioma radiation treatment usually involves multiple sessions, each lasting approximately 30 minutes. The procedure can be uncomfortable as the radiation oncologist will need to position and hold the patient in a certain position.
Before the session begins patients should dress in a comfortable way. Patients should avoid wearing any metal, which could affect the precision of the equipment. Patients should also consume six small, frequent meals to prevent nausea.
Depending on a patient’s condition, he or she may be treated with a traditional form of radiation or brachytherapy. During conventional radiation treatment doctors utilize an accelerator machine to give the radiation. This is the most common form of mesothelioma treatment. It is typically used for mesothelioma pleural, which is a cancer that occurs in the lung’s lining.
Brachytherapy is an improved treatment that utilizes an implanted radiation source inside the body. Implants can be permanently or temporarily put in. When inserting the implant, the surgeon must ensure that only cancerous tissue is targeted and not the surrounding organs.
Researchers are exploring the possibility of combining radiation therapy with surgical procedures in specific mesothelioma trials for patients with mesothelioma that is resectable. The SMART trial is an example. This treatment experiment involves providing patients with extrapleural pneumonectomy prior to the procedure of hemithoracic radiotherapy. This combination of treatments enables doctors to give patients greater doses of radiation and reduce the risk of mesothelioma post-surgery seeding.
A mesothelioma sufferer can experience full or partial remission, which means that the tumor has decreased in size or even disappeared entirely. Some patients have experienced remission for a long time, and have lived past their initial prognosis.
Radiation Treatment in Mesothelioma