How is mesothelioma treated?
Treatment for mesothelioma may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of these. The type of treatment that is best for you depends on the stage of the disease, the type of mesothelioma you have, your overall health, and other factors.
After diagnosis, mesothelioma patients should seek the counsel of a team of doctors who specialize in treating this cancer. At most cancer centers, this will include a medical oncologist (cancer specialist), a thoracic surgeon (chest surgeon), and a radiation oncologist. Other specialists, such as pulmonologists (lung specialists) and cardiothoracic surgeons (heart/chest surgeons), may also be involved in your care.
In general, treatment for mesothelioma can be divided into two types: local therapy and systemic therapy. Local therapy is used to treat cancer that is confined to the chest cavity. Systemic therapy, which includes chemotherapy and immunotherapy, is used to treat mesothelioma that has spread beyond the chest cavity.
The main goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life. In some cases, treatment may also be used to prolong life. Clinical trials are ongoing to develop new and more effective treatments for mesothelioma.
Surgery is the most common treatment for mesothelioma. The type of surgery performed depends on the stage of the disease and where the cancer is located.
Pleural mesothelioma, which accounts for about 70% of all cases, usually affects the lining of the lungs (pleura). The most common type of surgery for pleural mesothelioma is a pleurectomy with decortication (P/D).