Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. Its main cause is exposure to asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral that was widely used in construction, manufacturing, and shipbuilding industries. Unfortunately, mesothelioma symptoms may not appear until 20 to 50 years after asbestos exposure, and by that time, the cancer may have already progressed.
Are you or a loved one diagnosed with mesothelioma and looking for the best treatment options? In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about mesothelioma treatment, from traditional approaches to the latest breakthrough treatments. We’ll help you understand your options so you can make informed decisions about your care.
What are the Traditional Treatment Options for Mesothelioma?
The traditional treatment options for mesothelioma include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Each of these mesothelioma treatments is designed to remove or destroy cancerous tumors in different ways.
Surgery is an option for the early stages of mesothelioma when the cancer has not spread beyond the lining of one lung or the abdomen. The surgical options for mesothelioma are:
|Type of Surgery||Description|
|Extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP)||A surgery that removes the entire affected lung, the lining of the chest, the diaphragm, and lymph nodes.|
|Pleurectomy and decortication (P/D)||A surgery that removes the pleura (lining of the lung) and any visible tumors but leaves the lung intact.|
|Peritonectomy||A surgery that removes the lining of the abdomen and any visible tumors.|
Chemotherapy is a systemic treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells throughout the body. Chemotherapy is often used in combination with surgery or radiation therapy to treat mesothelioma. The most common chemotherapy drugs used to treat mesothelioma are:
Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy is often used after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells or to relieve symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath. There are two types of radiation therapy:
- External beam radiation therapy (EBRT)
- Brachytherapy or internal radiation therapy
What are the Latest Breakthrough Treatments for Mesothelioma?
Research into mesothelioma treatment is ongoing, and there are some promising new treatments that are being tested in clinical trials. Here are some of the latest breakthrough treatments:
Immunotherapy uses the body’s immune system to fight cancer. It works by boosting the immune system’s ability to identify and destroy cancer cells. Some immunotherapy drugs that are being tested in clinical trials for mesothelioma are:
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a treatment that uses light and a photosensitizing agent to kill cancer cells. PDT is a non-invasive treatment that is being tested in clinical trials for mesothelioma.
Gene therapy is a treatment that involves altering the genes in cancer cells to make them less harmful. Gene therapy is being tested in clinical trials for mesothelioma.
FAQs about Mesothelioma Treatment
What are the factors that determine which mesothelioma treatment is right for me?
The factors that determine which mesothelioma treatment is right for you include the stage of cancer, the location of the cancer, your overall health, and your personal preferences.
Will I be able to work during mesothelioma treatment?
It depends on the type of treatment you receive and the nature of your job. You may need to take time off work during treatment, or you may be able to work part-time or from home.
What are the side effects of mesothelioma treatment?
The side effects of mesothelioma treatment depend on the type of treatment you receive. Common side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and hair loss. Surgical side effects can include pain, infection, and difficulty breathing.
How long does a mesothelioma treatment take?
The length of mesothelioma treatment depends on the type of treatment you receive and the stage of cancer. Some treatments, such as chemotherapy, can last several months, while others, such as surgery, can take several weeks to recover from.
While mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer, there are a variety of treatment options available to help manage the disease. From traditional approaches like surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy to the latest breakthrough treatments like immunotherapy and photodynamic therapy, there are many different ways to approach mesothelioma treatment.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma, it’s important to work with your doctor to develop a personalized treatment plan that takes your unique needs and preferences into account. By staying informed and exploring all of your options, you can make the best decisions for your care and take steps to fight back against mesothelioma.
The content in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional before starting any new treatment or making changes to your existing treatment plan. We do not endorse any specific treatment or healthcare provider, and we make no guarantees about the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this article.