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The most common treatment for mesothelioma involves a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Supportive treatments can help relieve symptoms and improve quality of life for many mesothelioma patients.
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The American Society of Clinical Oncology in 2018 published its updated mesothelioma treatment guidelines that doctors follow when treating patients diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Patients diagnosed in the early stages benefit most from mesothelioma surgery. It offers them the best chance at living longer lives. These procedures, often performed with chemotherapy, remove all visible tumors from the chest area and improve quality of life.
Radiation therapy controls symptoms when surgery is not an option. It eases symptoms such as chest pain and discomfort. Radiation can also reduce the risk of local recurrence when combined with surgery, and it can be used as a palliative procedure.
Multimodal therapy, which is also known as multimodality treatment, is the combination of two or more conventional treatments to treat the pleural and peritoneal types of mesothelioma. This combined approach controls cancer growth better than using only one treatment.
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Pleural mesothelioma affects the pleura, which is the lining of the lungs. Doctors will choose the best treatment that will remove or reduce tumors from this area or minimize symptoms to improve quality of life.
EPP removes the entire cancerous lung and all nearby areas where mesothelioma spreads. This includes nearby lymph nodes, the chest lining, heart lining and diaphragm.Read More
P/D spares the lung and only removes cancerous parts of the pleural lining, the chest wall lining, heart lining and the diaphragm. Although a less aggressive surgery, it is still a major surgery.Read More
An experimental procedure that delivers heated chemotherapy drugs throughout the chest cavity. This procedure is performed after a surgeon has removed visible cancer growth through surgery.Read More
EBRT is the most common form of radiation for treating mesothelioma. A machine placed outside the body delivers X-ray beams to kill cancer cells. Doctors may use EBRT before or during surgery.Read More
Instead of using an external radiation source, this type of internal radiation uses a radioactive implant to kill nearby cancer cells. Brachytherapy can be used with other conventional treatments.Read More
Peritoneal mesothelioma forms on the peritoneum, which is the tissue lining the abdominal cavity. While this type of mesothelioma can be treated with all conventional treatment options, a combination of heated chemotherapy and surgery works best.
This is the most effective mesothelioma treatment option for this type of the cancer. Doctors deliver heated chemotherapy drugs into the abdominal cavity after surgery. The process kills remaining cancer cells.Read More
Mesothelioma doctors specialize in treating different disease types, including pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma. These specialists can provide the best treatment plans for you or your loved one.Get Help Now
Mesothelioma palliative treatment is also known as supportive care with a focus on controlling symptoms. It can improve quality of life and relieve cancer and treatment symptoms.
A 2016 study in Current Medical Research and Opinion shows earlier palliative care lessens pain at all mesothelioma stages.
“Supportive care medicine, a new specialized branch of medicine that reduces pain, increases appetite and boosts morale, is one of the most important aspects of mesothelioma treatment. Moffitt has recently created this program, and every mesothelioma patient should ask to be seen by this type of medical specialist, in addition to a thoracic surgeon and medical oncologist.”
Emerging treatment options for mesothelioma include immunotherapy, photodynamic therapy, virotherapy, gene therapy, cryotherapy and epigenetic therapy.
Mesothelioma doctors and researchers are testing these in clinical trials to ensure safety and efficacy. At some point, these experimental treatments could become conventional treatments.
Most mesothelioma patients choose complementary and alternative medicine to improve their health. These are best used alongside conventional treatments and with a doctor’s approval.
A great way to find out which complementary treatments have worked for other patients is to ask questions at a mesothelioma support group meeting.
As a part of any treatment plan, patients should maintain a balanced diet in order to maintain weight and energy.
A diet rich in protein and high in calories is best for mesothelioma patients. Following proper nutrition guidelines and advice from a dietitian can help patients improve their well-being and recovery time.
The average cost for treating malignant pleural mesothelioma is similar to that of lung cancer. The National Cancer Institute shows treatments for lung cancer can cost $60,709 in the first year.
An exact cost is difficult to estimate. Every case is unique, and each type of therapy carries its specific expense. Early financial planning could ease some of these concerns about paying for treatment.
Average mesothelioma treatment costs by type of therapy:
A 2011 National Cancer Institute study shows a stage 1 lung cancer patient could pay $26,235 a month for surgery. Not all mesothelioma patients are eligible for surgery. A late diagnosis means surgery is not helpful.
A 2013 study comparing pemetrexed plus cisplatin shows the combination costs $40,102. Final chemotherapy costs depend on type of cancer, drugs used and the patient.
A 2015 study in the Journal of Oncology Practice shows the median cost for a course of radiation for lung cancer patients was $9,000. Total cost depends on your health coverage and the number of treatments you receive.
There are several mesothelioma specialists who have spent years treating this rare disease. They also continue learning about the latest treatment options.
Every cancer is different, and mesothelioma treatments vary by state. Mesothelioma patients should find a center specializing in the treatment of this rare cancer. In fact, the best cancer centers offer a multidisciplinary approach to treating mesothelioma.
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