Treatment for malignant mesothelioma by stage
Therapies will vary according to the stage of mesothelioma, which is determined at the time of diagnosis. If the cancer is localized (found in only one place in the chest), treatment probably will consist of surgery to remove the tumor and surrounding tissue. If the cancer is present in a larger area, treatment may involve more extensive surgery, external radiation
and/or chemotherapy. Treatment for advanced disease may include thoracentesis or paracentesis to reduce discomfort, as well as drugs placed directly into the chest to prevent further fluid buildup. Surgery and radiation may relieve symptoms, and various types of chemotherapy may be used.
Stage I mesothelioma - Most patients with stage I mesothelioma have their cancer surgically removed by pleurectomy/decortication or extrapleural pneumonectomy. The value of adjuvant chemotherapy or radiation therapy (treatments given after surgery) for stage I mesothelioma is uncertain. If a patient wants aggressive treatment and is fit enough to have surgery, some centers may do an extrapleural pneumonectomy. Another surgical option is pleurectomy and decortication, which is sometimes done to relieve some of the symptoms of mesothelioma. Both of these procedures may be followed by radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
Stages II, III mesothelioma - Treatment options include palliative and supportive care providing relief of symptoms, such as thoracentesis (to remove fluid accumulation in the chest cavity), operations to remove as much of the tumor as possible in some cases, and radiation therapy or chemotherapy aimed at easing symptoms. Cure is not possible in these stages. Enrollment in clinical trials evaluating the newest treatment possibilities in large medical centers should be considered. Pleurectomy and decortication may be done to relieve symptoms in pleural mesothelioma. Other procedures such as thoracentesis may be done to drain fluid (pleural effusions) and prevent them from recurring. Radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy also may be administered for symptom relief.
Stage IV mesothelioma - Because stage IV mesothelioma cancer has spread to distant organs, a cure is not possible. If any aggressive therapy is used, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, the goals should be clear to the patient and family. Enrollment in clinical trials evaluating the newest treatment possibilities in large medical centers should be considered. Supportive care may be the best choice, perhaps in the setting of a good hospice program. Pain management is an important aspect of patient care. It is important for patients to know that medications are available to effectively treat pain due to mesothelioma. Patients should not hesitate to request pain medications or discuss pain control problems with their cancer care team.
Recurrent malignant mesothelioma - There is no standard treatment for recurrent mesothelioma. Generally, treatments are considered that were not used the first time the disease was treated. Treatment depends on many factors, including where the cancer came back and what treatment the patient received before. Clinical trials are testing new treatments.
More information on mesothelioma cancer
What is mesothelioma cancer? - Mesothelioma (cancer of the mesothelium) is a disease in which cells of the mesothelium become abnormal and divide without control or order.
What types of mesothelioma are there? - Mesotheliomas consist of two general types-benign and malignant. Malignant mesothelioma is a cancerous tumor of the pleura.
What is pleural mesothelioma? - Pleural mesothelioma is a cancer of the cells that make up the pleura or lining around the outside of the lungs and inside of the ribs.
What is peritoneal mesothelioma? - Peritoneal mesothelioma is a cancer affecting the abdominal lining, or peritoneum. Peritoneal mesothelioma is a tumor of this membrane.
What is malignant mesothelioma? - Malignant mesothelioma is a cancer in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the sac lining the chest (the pleura) or abdomen (the peritoneum).
What causes mesothelioma? - Asbestos exposure is the main cause of mesothelioma. The chances of suffering from mesothelioma rise with the intensity and duration of exposure to asbestos.
What're the risk factors for mesothelioma? - The main risk factors for malignant mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. Other risk factors include radiation, zeolite, tobacco, and SV40 Virus.
Who's at increased risk for developing mesothelioma? - Family members and others living with asbestos workers have an increased risk of developing mesothelioma.
Asbestos and mesothelioma - Asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer are the three most frequent causes of death and disease among people with heavy asbestos exposure.
Where is asbestos found? - Asbestos has been widely used in many industrial products. Exposure to asbestos can occur in home improvement and construction projects.
When is asbestos dangerous? - Asbestos is hazardous when it is friable. The most common way for asbestos fibers to enter the body is through breathing.
How to reduce asbestos exposure? - Reducing exposure to asbestos by repairing damaged material will involve covering the material or sealing asbestos material.
What's the mesothelioma survival rate? - Mesothelioma is a serious disease. The average age at diagnosis is 50 to 70 years old. The average survival time is about one year.
What're the symptoms of mesothelioma? - Symptoms of mesothelioma include pain in the lower back or at the side of the chest, cough, fever, sweating, fatigue, and weight loss.
How is mesothelioma diagnosed? - Diagnosis of mesothelioma begins with a review of the patient's medical history, including any history of asbestos exposure.
How is mesothelioma staged? - Staging of mesothelioma is based on imaging studies such as x-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans. Malignant mesothelioma moves through four stages.
What's the treatment for mesothelioma? - Treatment for mesothelioma cancer include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Surgery is a common treatment for mesothelioma.
Treatment of malignant mesothelioma by stage - Most patients with stage I mesothelioma have their cancer surgically removed by pleurectomy/decortication or extrapleural pneumonectomy.
Surgery for mesothelioma - Surgery for malignant mesothelioma can be aimed at long-term control of the cancer (aggressive surgery) or relief of symptoms (palliative procedures).
Chemotherapy for mesothelioma - Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. In mesothelioma, chemotherapy may be put directly into the chest.
Radiation therapy for mesothelioma - Radiation is useful because mesothelioma is made up of rapid growing cells and radiation is most effective on cells that divide rapidly.
How to prevent malignant mesothelioma? - The risk of malignant mesothelioma can be reduced by avoiding getting exposed to asbestos.
What's the prognosis of malignant mesothelioma? - The survival time after diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma is about one year. Prognosis for malignant mesothelioma depends on how early it is diagnosed.
What about the mesothelioma lawsuits? - Mesothelioma lawsuits are classified into two groups: personal injury, and wrongful death. Mesothelioma lawsuits usually seek compensation for medical costs.
Who is mesothelioma attorney (lawyer)? - The benefits of hiring a mesothelioma attorney are numerous. A mesothelioma lawyer is able to provide both advice and assistance.