What are the Different Types of Mesothelioma Therapy?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 11 September 2019
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Mesothelioma therapy options vary, depending on the stage which a cancer has reached at the time of diagnosis. As a general rule, treatments are usually combined to stage an aggressive attack against the cancer which is intended to either eliminate the cancer or improve quality of life for the patient, depending on the stage of the cancer. Treatment for mesothelioma is usually supervised by an oncologist, a doctor who specializes in caring for patients with cancer.

This cancer, which involves an area of the lungs known as the mesothelium, is very rare. It is most commonly seen in people who have been exposed to asbestos, such as contractors, construction workers, people who have worked in facilities where asbestos is used, and people who have inhaled asbestos in buildings with asbestos contamination. It can occur years after exposure, which sometimes makes it harder to diagnose.

One type of mesothelioma therapy is chemotherapy, which is designed to shrink the cancer and limit its spread. Chemotherapy is accomplished with the use of drugs which are infused into the body over a series of chemotherapy sessions. It is usually accompanied with very serious side effects, because these drugs are toxic.


Radiation therapy is another type of mesothelioma therapy. Radiation is designed to kill cancer cells so that they cannot keep replicating, and may be used to limit the spread of a cancer or to shrink it. A third option is surgery, in which cancerous tissue is removed. Surgery is generally only recommended in the early stages, when it might be possible to remove the entire cancer and its margins. In later stages, surgery may not benefit the patient.

There are also some alternative options when it comes to mesothelioma therapy. These options have not been tested in rigorous scientific environments, and it is advisable to consult several physicians before pursuing alternative medical treatments. Alternative treatment can include modifications to diet, herbal medicine, electrical stimulation, and a variety of other options which vary by practitioner.

When evaluating mesothelioma therapy options, it is important to get an accurate biopsy which identifies the cancer and the stage. The stage of the cancer plays a critical role in the most appropriate treatment plan. People may also want to ask about quality of life with various treatments, and in end-stage cancers, they may want to ask how much time a therapy will buy them, and what their quality of life will be like during this period.



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