Treatment For Mesothelioma Cancer

There are three traditional types of treatment for Mesothelioma: - Surgery, Radiation Therapy, and Chemotherapy. Doctors can use combinations of these treatments. The multi-treatment approach appears to provide positive results for treating the initial stages of this diseases. These treatments successfully increase the patient’s life span by five years or more which is commonly known as remission. However, success percentage may increase or decrease depending on the stage of the malignant development.


Surgery is a common treatment for Mesothelioma although by itself it cannot do much. However radiation and chemotherapy usually prescribes post surgery. A pleurectomy/ decortications are the most common surgery in which the Doctor may remove parts of the lining of the chest or abdomen and some of the tissue around it.


Radiation or radiotherapy, involves use of high-energy rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation therapy affects the cancer cells only in the treated area. The radiation may come from a machine (external radiation) or from putting materials that produce radiation through thin plastic tubes into the area where the cancer cells are found (internal radiation therapy). The necessary radiation dose to treat mesothelioma that has not been surgically removed would be very toxic.

For patients with localized disease and who can tolerate a radical surgery radiation is often given after the surgery as a consolidate treatment. This approach of using surgery followed by radiation with chemotherapy has been pioneered by the Thoracic Oncology Team at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston. Delivering radiation and chemotherapy after a radical surgery has led to extended life expectancy in some cases with some patients surviving more than 5 years.


Chemotherapy is usage of anticancer drugs to kill cancer cells throughout the body. Drugs are used to treat Mesothelioma and patience is given injection into vein (known as intravenous, or IV). Doctors are also studying the effectiveness of intra-cavitary chemotherapy, direct injection into the chest or abdomen

These are the main treatment methods. However, physicians are currently studying other treatment modalities such as immunotherapy and intra-operative photodynamic therapy.

Treatment regimens involves immunotherapy have yielded variable results. For example: intra pleural inoculation of éBacillus Calmette-Gurin (BCG) in an attempt to boost the immune response has not been very positive. Nonetheless other trials involving interferon alpha have proved more encouraging with 20% of patients experiencing greater than 50% reduction in tumor mass combined with minimal side effects.

Heated Intra-operative Intra-peritoneal Chemotherapy

A procedure known as heated Intra-operative intra chemotherapy was developed by Paul Sugar Baker at the Washington Cancer Institute. The surgeon removes tumor as much as possible followed by the direct administration of a chemotherapy agent heated between 40 to 48°C in the abdomen. The fluid is per fused for 60 to 120 minutes and then drained.

This technique permits the administration of high concentrations of selected drugs into the abdominal and pelvic surfaces. Heating the chemotherapy treatment increases the penetration of the drugs into tissues. Also, heating itself damages the malignant cells more than the normal cells.

Various other programs are also exhibiting favorable results. Despite such successes and so much research the irony is that no cure for Mesothelioma currently exists.

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