Mesothelioma

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Malignant Mesothelioma and Treatment

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Asbestos Exposure

Treatment Option Overview

Key Points for This Section

  • There are different types of treatment for patients with malignant mesothelioma.
  • Three types of standard treatment are used:
  1. Surgery
  2. Radiation therapy
  3. Chemotherapy
  • Other types of treatment that are being tested in clinical trials include the following:
  • Biologic therapy

There are different types of treatment for patients with malignant mesothelioma.

Different types of treatments are available for patients with malignant mesothelioma.

Some treatments are standard (the currently used treatment), and some are being tested in clinical trials. Before starting treatment, patients may want to think about taking part in a clinical trial. A treatment clinical trial is a research study meant to help improve current treatments or obtain information on new treatments for patients with cancer.

When clinical trials show that a new treatment is better than the standard treatment, the new treatment may become the standard treatment.

Clinical trials are taking place in many parts of the country. Information about ongoing clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site. Choosing the most appropriate cancer treatment is a decision that ideally involves the patient, family, and health care team.

Three types of standard treatment are used:

Surgery

The following surgical treatments may be used for malignant mesothelioma:

  • Wide local excision: Surgery to remove the cancer and some of the healthy tissue around it.
  • Pleurectomy and decortication: Surgery to remove part of the covering of the lungs and lining of the chest and part of the outside surface of the lungs.
  • Extrapleural pneumonectomy: Surgery to remove one whole lung and part of the lining of the chest, the diaphragm, and the lining of the sac around the heart.
  • Pleurodesis: A surgical procedure that uses chemicals or drugs to make a scar in the space between the layers of the pleura. Fluid is first drained from the space using a catheter or chest tube and the chemical or drug is put into the space. The scarring stops the build-up of fluid in the pleural cavity.

Even if the doctor removes all the cancer that can be seen at the time of the surgery, some patients may be given chemotherapy or radiation therapy after surgery to kill any cancer cells that are left. Treatment given after surgery, to increase the chances of a cure, is called adjuvant therapy.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells. There are two types of radiation therapy. External radiation therapy uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the cancer.

Internal radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters that are placed directly into or near the cancer. The way the radiation therapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping the cells from dividing. When chemotherapy is taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle, the drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout the body (systemic chemotherapy).

When chemotherapy is placed directly into the spinal column, an organ, or a body cavity such as the abdomen, the drugs mainly affect cancer cells in those areas (regional chemotherapy).

Combination chemotherapy is the use of more than one anticancer drug. The way the chemotherapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.

Other types of treatment that are being tested in clinical trials include the following:

Biologic Therapy

Biologic therapy is a treatment that uses the patients immune system to fight cancer. Substances made by the body or made in a laboratory are used to boost, direct, or restore the body's natural defences against cancer. This type of cancer treatment is also called biotherapy or immunotherapy.

This summary section refers to specific treatments under study in clinical trials, but it may not mention every new treatment being studied. Information about ongoing clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Copyright 2005. Mesotheliomadoc.com
All rights reserved

Content's source: www.cancer.gov
Developed by www.mesotheliomadoc.com

bullet.jpg (438 bytes) What is Mesothelioma bullet.jpg (438 bytes) Mesothelioma & Asbestos bullet.jpg (438 bytes) Malignant Mesothelioma & Treatment
bullet.jpg (438 bytes) Stages of Malignant Mesothelioma bullet.jpg (438 bytes) Recurrent Malignant Mesothelioma
bullet.jpg (438 bytes) Treatment Option overview bullet.jpg (438 bytes) Treatment Options for Malignant Mesothelioma
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