Mesothelioma Chemotherapy: A Comprehensive Guide

Greetings, dear readers! In today’s article, we’ll be delving into mesothelioma chemotherapy. Mesothelioma is a rare, aggressive cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. It is caused by exposure to asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral that was once widely used in construction, shipbuilding, and other industries.

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be considering chemotherapy as a treatment option. Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. It can be administered orally, intravenously, or directly into the affected area.

The Basics of Mesothelioma Chemotherapy

Before we dive into the details of mesothelioma chemotherapy, let’s first understand how it works. Chemotherapy drugs kill cancer cells by damaging their DNA, which prevents them from reproducing. Unfortunately, chemotherapy drugs also affect healthy cells, leading to side effects such as nausea, hair loss, and fatigue.

Types of Chemotherapy Drugs

There are several types of chemotherapy drugs used to treat mesothelioma, including:

Drug Name How It’s Administered Possible Side Effects
Alimta (Pemetrexed) IV Nausea, fatigue, anemia
Platinol (Cisplatin) IV Kidney damage, hearing loss, neuropathy
Adriamycin (Doxorubicin) IV Nausea, vomiting, hair loss

How Chemotherapy is Administered

Chemotherapy can be administered in several ways:

  • Intravenous (IV): The drugs are injected into a vein.
  • Oral: The drugs are taken in pill form.
  • Intraperitoneal (IP): The drugs are injected directly into the abdomen.
  • Intrapleural (IT): The drugs are injected directly into the chest cavity.

Chemotherapy Side Effects

As mentioned earlier, chemotherapy can cause side effects. The severity of the side effects depends on the type of drugs used and the individual’s overall health. Common side effects of mesothelioma chemotherapy include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Hair loss
  • Anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mouth sores
  • Increased risk of infection

FAQs About Mesothelioma Chemotherapy

Q: Is chemotherapy the only treatment option for mesothelioma?

A: No, there are other treatment options available, including surgery and radiation therapy. However, chemotherapy is often used in combination with these treatments to improve effectiveness.

Q: How long does a chemotherapy session last?

A: A typical chemotherapy session lasts a few hours, but the exact length of time depends on the drugs being used and the individual’s condition.

Q: Is chemotherapy painful?

A: No, chemotherapy itself is not painful, but some of the side effects can be uncomfortable.

Q: How many chemotherapy sessions will I need?

A: The number of chemotherapy sessions needed depends on the individual’s condition and the type of drugs being used. Some people may need several rounds of treatment, while others may only need one or two.

Q: Can chemotherapy cure mesothelioma?

A: While chemotherapy cannot cure mesothelioma, it can slow the progression of the disease and improve quality of life.

Q: Will I lose my hair during chemotherapy?

A: Hair loss is a possible side effect of chemotherapy, but not everyone experiences it. Your doctor can give you more information about the specific drugs being used and their side effects.

Q: Can I work during chemotherapy treatment?

A: Whether or not you can work during chemotherapy treatment depends on your individual situation. Some people are able to continue working, while others need to take time off to rest and recover.

Q: How can I manage chemotherapy side effects?

A: There are several ways to manage chemotherapy side effects, including taking anti-nausea medication, staying hydrated, and eating a healthy diet.

Q: Can chemotherapy be administered at home?

A: Some chemotherapy drugs can be administered at home with proper training and supervision from a medical professional.

Q: How long does it take to recover from chemotherapy?

A: Recovery time from chemotherapy varies depending on the individual’s condition and the type of drugs being used. Some people may feel better within a few days, while others may need several weeks to recover.

Q: How will I know if chemotherapy is working?

A: Your doctor will monitor your progress during and after chemotherapy treatment using imaging tests and other diagnostic tools.

Q: Can chemotherapy be used to treat all types of mesothelioma?

A: No, chemotherapy may not be effective for all types of mesothelioma. Your doctor can determine the best treatment approach based on your individual situation.

Q: Is chemotherapy covered by insurance?

A: Most insurance plans cover chemotherapy as a medical treatment. However, it’s important to check with your insurance provider to confirm coverage and any out-of-pocket expenses.

Q: How can I find a mesothelioma specialist?

A: Mesothelioma is a rare and complex disease, so it’s important to seek treatment from a specialist with experience treating mesothelioma. Your doctor can refer you to a specialist or you can search for one online.


In conclusion, mesothelioma chemotherapy is an important treatment option for those with mesothelioma. While it may cause side effects, the benefits of slowing disease progression and improving quality of life can be significant. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, talk to your doctor about whether chemotherapy is right for you.

Remember, early detection and treatment are key to improving outcomes for those with mesothelioma. If you suspect you may have been exposed to asbestos or are experiencing symptoms of mesothelioma, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. We hope you found it informative and helpful. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below.


This article is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The content of this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your specific situation.