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Mesothelioma Treatment Options
Mesothelioma patients have treatment options. Some treatments may extend your life. Others may help reduce symptoms or improve your quality of life. The treatment options available to you will depend on factors unique to you and what your doctor believes will be the most successful.
How Is Mesothelioma Treated?
Mesothelioma treatment depends on many factors. Your doctor will consider the type of mesothelioma, the stage and your overall health. Using these considerations, your doctor develops a treatment plan specific to your needs.
Your doctor may give you different treatment options and will talk to you about the specific advantages of each. Once your treatment plan is set, it’s important to keep your care team updated on how you’re doing.
Doctors perform surgery to remove mesothelioma tumors and other impacted tissues. Some surgeries help treat the cancer, and others relieve symptoms. Sometimes, your doctor might combine surgery with another treatment, like chemotherapy. When combined, surgery may help you live longer.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to attack and kill fast-growing cancer cells. Sometimes, doctors use an IV to give you chemotherapy drugs, which then travel throughout your body. However, newer chemotherapies are delivered directly to where the cancer forms. For example, doctors may administer HIPEC after surgically removing peritoneal mesothelioma tumors. HIPEC uses a heated chemotherapy solution to kill the remaining cancer cells.
Immunotherapy is a promising treatment for some types of mesothelioma. Essentially, immunotherapy trains your immune system to find and attack cancer cells. Studies have shown it may extend patients’ lives. Immunotherapy has become a more common mesothelioma treatment in recent years.
Radiation is another common form of cancer treatment. For mesothelioma, radiation therapy may be one piece of a combined treatment plan for pleural mesothelioma. This type of treatment uses energy in the form of radiation to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy can help relieve symptoms and stop the cancer from spreading.
Clinical Trials and Emerging Treatment Options
Clinical trials help doctors test new treatments and how effective they are for mesothelioma. Researchers use them to improve treatment options and extend survival. However, only some patients qualify for a clinical trial. If you’re interested, you should talk to your doctor to see if one will work for you.
Palliative care is often considered end-of-life, but that’s not the case. Your doctor may recommend palliative care as a way to help improve your quality of life and relieve some of your symptoms. Any stage of mesothelioma may benefit from palliative treatments.