Malignant mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer which occurs in the lining of the lung (the pleura) or in the abdomen (the peritoneum). In very rare cases, mesothelioma can occur in other areas of the body as well. Knowledge of available mesothelioma treatment options can be an essential weapon in the fight against the progression of this deadly disease.
If you have questions or would like to explore your legal rights regarding a potential asbestos or mesothelioma case, please contact attorney John Herrick or Anne McGinness Kearse by email or call 1.800.923.4237.
Treatment Factors and Options
Treatment decisions are based on the location of the cancer, the stage of the disease, and the patient's age and general health. The three types of standard treatments used are:
surgery (removing the cancer)
radiation therapy (using targeted high-dose x-rays or other high-energy rays to kill cancer cells)
chemotherapy (using drugs to destroy the cancer)
In order to achieve the best possible results, these treatments may be combined. Clinical trials for immunotherapy and gene therapy are also in progress for treatment of mesothelioma.
Dr. David Sugarbaker, Director of the International Mesothelioma Program discusses "hot" chemotherapy as a mesothelioma treatment option.
The chance of recovery for a person with mesothelioma depends on several factors, including:
age of the patient
appearance of the cells under a microscope
location of the cancer
response to treatment
size of the cancer
stage or spread of the cancer throughout the body
Treatment for the Stages of Mesothelioma
An increasing number of patients with Stage I mesothelioma have their cancer surgically removed. Supplemental chemotherapy or radiation therapy may be added to treatment. Radiation therapy may be used for patients whose general health is too poor to tolerate a major operation.
Stages II, III
Treatment options include care to provide relief of symptoms, such as removing the fluid that has accumulated in the chest cavity, operations to remove as much of the tumor as possible and radiation therapy or chemotherapy aimed at easing symptoms. Patients in these stages may consider enrolling in clinical trials evaluating the newest treatment possibilities at large medical centers.
Stage IV mesothelioma indicates that the cancer has spread to distant organs. If any aggressive therapy is used, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, doctors should clearly explain the goals and potential outcome to the patient and family.