Treatment

What is the standard treatment for mesothelioma?

The standard treatment for mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive cancer primarily caused by exposure to asbestos, depends on various factors such as the stage of the disease, the patient’s overall health, and the location of the cancer. Treatments often include a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and sometimes immunotherapy or targeted therapy.

  1. Surgery: If the cancer is diagnosed early and localized, surgery might be an option. The goal is to remove as much of the tumor as possible. Surgical options may include pleurectomy/decortication (removing the affected lung lining and any visible tumors) or extrapleural pneumonectomy (removing the affected lung, lining, and parts of the diaphragm and heart lining). However, surgery is typically not an option in advanced stages of the disease.
  2. Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy involves using drugs to kill cancer cells. It can be administered orally or intravenously and is often used in combination with surgery or radiation therapy. It may help shrink tumors, control symptoms, and improve quality of life.
  3. Radiation therapy: This treatment uses high-energy beams to target and destroy cancer cells. It can be used before surgery to shrink tumors or after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells. Palliative radiation therapy can also help manage symptoms and improve the patient’s quality of life.
  4. Immunotherapy: This treatment helps the immune system recognize and attack cancer cells. Immunotherapy drugs such as pembrolizumab or nivolumab may be used in certain cases, either alone or in combination with other treatments.
  5. Targeted therapy: Some mesothelioma patients may undergo targeted therapy, which uses drugs that specifically target certain molecules or pathways involved in the growth and survival of cancer cells. However, targeted therapy options for mesothelioma are still being researched and might be used in specific cases or clinical trials.

In addition to these treatments, clinical trials may offer new experimental therapies or combinations of existing treatments to improve outcomes for mesothelioma patients. It’s important for patients to work closely with a multidisciplinary healthcare team specializing in mesothelioma to determine the most suitable treatment plan based on their individual circumstances.

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