Mesothelioma Chemotherapy Side Effects: What You Need to Know

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on mesothelioma chemotherapy side effects. If you or a loved one is undergoing chemotherapy for mesothelioma, it’s crucial to understand the potential side effects and how to manage them. In this article, we’ll provide a detailed explanation of mesothelioma chemotherapy side effects, a table of all the possible side effects, and answers to frequently asked questions. Let’s dive in!

Chemotherapy is a common treatment for mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. It involves the use of drugs that kill cancer cells, but unfortunately, these drugs can also harm healthy cells in the body. As a result, chemotherapy can cause several side effects that vary depending on the type and dose of drugs used, as well as the individual’s overall health.

What Are the Side Effects of Mesothelioma Chemotherapy?

While chemotherapy can be effective in shrinking tumors and extending survival for mesothelioma patients, it can also cause several side effects. Here are the most common side effects of mesothelioma chemotherapy:

Side Effect Symptoms
Nausea and vomiting Feeling queasy, throwing up, loss of appetite
Hair loss Thinning or baldness on the scalp, eyebrows, and eyelashes
Fatigue Extreme tiredness, weakness, lack of energy
Infection Fever, chills, sore throat, cough, diarrhea
Anemia Fatigue, shortness of breath, pale skin, dizziness
Low platelet count Bruising, bleeding, petechiae
Peripheral neuropathy Numbness, tingling, burning sensations in fingers and toes

1. How Does Chemotherapy Work for Mesothelioma?

Chemotherapy for mesothelioma works by targeting rapidly dividing cancer cells in the body. Chemotherapy drugs can be given orally or through an IV infusion, and they travel throughout the bloodstream to reach cancer cells. Once inside the cells, the drugs interfere with the cells’ ability to divide and grow, eventually leading to their death.

2. How Long Does Mesothelioma Chemotherapy Last?

The duration of mesothelioma chemotherapy depends on several factors, including the stage of the cancer, the type of chemotherapy drugs used, and the patient’s overall health. Generally, chemotherapy for mesothelioma is administered in cycles, with each cycle lasting several weeks. A typical course of chemotherapy may last anywhere from several months to a year or longer.

3. What Are the Most Effective Chemotherapy Drugs for Mesothelioma?

The most effective chemotherapy drugs for mesothelioma are those that have shown the most success in shrinking tumors and extending survival. Some of the most common chemotherapy drugs used for mesothelioma include cisplatin, pemetrexed, carboplatin, and gemcitabine.

4. Can Chemotherapy Cure Mesothelioma?

While chemotherapy can help to slow the progression of mesothelioma and improve quality of life, it is not considered a cure for the disease. Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that can be difficult to treat, and most patients will eventually experience a recurrence of the cancer.

5. What Can I Do to Manage Chemotherapy Side Effects?

If you’re undergoing chemotherapy for mesothelioma, there are several steps you can take to manage the side effects of treatment. These include:

  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet to maintain your strength and energy
  • Getting plenty of rest and staying hydrated
  • Taking anti-nausea medication as prescribed by your doctor
  • Using a scalp cooling cap to reduce hair loss
  • Taking pain medication as needed to manage discomfort
  • Communicating regularly with your healthcare team about any side effects you experience

6. What Are the Long-Term Effects of Mesothelioma Chemotherapy?

The long-term effects of mesothelioma chemotherapy can vary depending on the individual and the type of drugs used. Some people may experience lingering side effects such as neuropathy, cognitive impairment, and fatigue, while others may recover completely over time. Your healthcare team can provide guidance on managing any long-term effects of treatment.

7. How Can I Support a Loved One Undergoing Mesothelioma Chemotherapy?

If someone you care about is undergoing chemotherapy for mesothelioma, there are several ways you can offer support. These include:

  • Offering transportation to and from appointments
  • Preparing meals or bringing healthy snacks to the hospital or treatment center
  • Helping with household chores or childcare
  • Providing emotional support by listening, offering encouragement, or simply being present


Mesothelioma chemotherapy can be a lifesaving treatment for those with this aggressive form of cancer, but it is not without its side effects. By understanding the potential side effects and taking steps to manage them, patients can help ensure the best possible outcome from treatment. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, be sure to speak with your healthcare team about your treatment options and what to expect.

Remember, you are not alone in this journey. There are resources and support available to help you navigate the challenges of mesothelioma treatment. Together, we can work towards better outcomes and improved quality of life for those impacted by this devastating disease.


The information in this article is intended for educational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. Always consult with your healthcare provider regarding any questions or concerns you may have about mesothelioma chemotherapy side effects or any other medical condition.