Mesothelioma Treatment Options
There are many options when it comes to treatment for mesothelioma.
The main three treatments for mesothelioma are as follows:
The following surgical treatments may be used for malignant mesothelioma:
- Wide local excision: Surgery to remove the cancer and some of the healthy tissue around it.
- Pleurectomy and decortication: Surgery to remove part of the covering of the lungs and lining of the chest and part of the outside surface of the lungs.
- Extrapleural pneumonectomy: Surgery to remove one whole lung and part of the lining of the chest, the diaphragm, and the lining of the sac around the heart.
- Pleurodesis: A surgical procedure that uses chemicals or drugs to make a scar in the space between the layers of the pleura. The fluid is first drained from the space using a catheter or chest tube and the chemical or drug is put into the space. The scarring stops the build-up of fluid in the pleural cavity.
Even if the doctor removes all the cancer that can be seen at the time of the surgery, some patients may be given chemotherapy or radiation therapy after surgery to kill any cancer cells that are left. Treatment given after surgery, to lower the risk that the cancer will come back, is called adjuvant therapy.
Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing. There are two types of radiation therapy. External radiation therapy uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the cancer. Internal radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters that are placed directly into or near the cancer. The way the radiation therapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.
Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. When chemotherapy is taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle, the drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout the body (systemic chemotherapy). When chemotherapy is placed directly into the cerebrospinal fluid, an organ, or a body cavity such as the abdomen, the drugs mainly affect cancer cells in those areas (regional chemotherapy).
Combination chemotherapy is the use of more than one anticancer drug. The way the chemotherapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.