Mesothelioma Treatment

Conventional treatments for mesothelioma involve surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.

For your convenience, we have consolidated mesothelioma treatment information which is updated on a weekly basis. Typical treatment strategies are often developed based on the stage of a pleural mesothelioma. Stage 1 mesothelioma can be treated with any number of different methods, depending on the patient's health, including surgical resection of the disease or more advanced procedures like extrapleural pneumonectomy and lung pneumonectomy. Patients diagnosed with advanced-stage disease will likely manage their disease and its symptoms through some combination of mesothelioma chemotherapy, radiation therapy and alternative therapies.

Chemotherapy options include the FDA-approved combination of Alimta® and Cisplatin, as well as other drugs which are currently in active clinical trials. Other drugs showing positive results in trial include Gemcitabine and Navelbine. Conjunctive treatments include the approach which combines one conventional therapy with another such as surgery in combination with chemotherapy. Multi-modal mesothelioma treatment includes heated intra-operative chemotherapy which applies a potent dose of chemotherapy to the surface of the actual affected area. For mesothelioma patients, radiation is sometimes used in conjunction with chemotherapy for optimal results.

Other experimental therapies for mesothelioma, although used much less frequently, include gene therapy, immunotherapy and photodynamic therapy. These therapies are still in their experimental stages.

Choosing the right mesothelioma doctor is an important first step in planning for treatment.

Some of the more notable mesothelioma doctors include Dr. David Sugarbaker of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Dr. Valerie Rusch of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and Dr. Harvey Pass of the New York University Medical Center Division of Thoracic Surgery. Each of these oncologists have an acute knowledge of the behavior and pathology of malignant mesothelioma and its treatments. It is likely that if you are diagnosed with mesothelioma, you will be referred by your personal physician to a larger scale comprehensive cancer center like those discussed here.

Mesothelioma treatment programs are featured at many of the country’s leading cancer centers and comprehensive medical facilities.

Some of the most exciting and advanced mesothelioma treatment techniques are being researched and explored through the International Mesothelioma Program at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute's Harvard University Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston under the auspices of Dr. Sugarbaker. Multi-modal therapies, including combination therapies including advanced surgical procedures in conjunction with chemotherapy are some of the many exploratory therapies being researched at the IMP. Exciting studies are also arising out of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and the University of California San Francisco under the auspices of Dr. David Jablons. The mesothelioma clinics previously mentioned provide excellent care to mesothelioma victims and their families.

Experimental mesothelioma treatments are explored through clinical and surgical trials at many of the nation’s top cancer centers.

Information about current studies of promising new or experimental mesothelioma treatments. Several mesothelioma clinical trials are actively recruiting patients of malignant mesothelioma. Patients undergoing mesothelioma treatment should strongly consider participating in a clinical trial. Mesothelioma survival rate can be dramatically extended in those who are treated with as-yet unapproved/experimental therapies. Given the lack of a mesothelioma cure, participation in clinical trials among mesothelioma patients is common. A patient's ability to participate in a clinical trial will be dependent on a number of factors including age, general health, and stage of disease at diagnosis.

As you deal with your cancer and the process of treatment, you need to have honest, open discussions with your cancer care team. We have listed some mesothelioma questions that you might want to ask in this section. We urge not only patients undergoing mesothelioma treatment, but also family members and loved ones to read this section carefully, and pursue answers not only these questions but all mesothelioma treatment-related questions with your oncologist or mesothelioma specialist.

Alternative therapies for mesothelioma can be used to ease side effects of traditional cancer treatment.

Many of those being treated for serious illness find comfort in different alternative therapies such as massage and acupuncture. These untraditional methods of disease management can complement conventional therapies and allow the patient to be more at peace and comfortable during this difficult time. Meditation and Yoga are common methods used by many to reach a state of relaxation, and release endorphins, our body's natural pain relievers The majority of these treatments are based upon patient preference but patients undergoing mesothelioma treatment are encouraged to utilize one or many of these options, which can dramatically improve patient stamina and strength while undergoing treatment for mesothelioma. Nutritional supplements and other health enhancers should also be considered by all patients undergoing mesothelioma treatment, as the disease can deplete strength and general immune health.

This section of our web site is updated frequently as we know how important it is for those diagnosed with mesothelioma to be kept informed about the latest mesothelioma research. We have also provided a wide range of information specifically designed for caregivers and loved ones. You can even find providers of cancer care related services in your geographic area.