Once you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan. The first step in this process is staging, determined by the tumor’s size and location, and whether and how far the cancer has spread. Your doctor’s mesothelioma treatment recommendations will be based on this information, along with your age, gender, and general health.
Mesothelioma Treatment: Surgery
Most mesothelioma treatments are designed to relieve symptoms, prolong life, and improve quality of life, rather than provide a cure. Curative surgery is seldom an option, but if your doctor determines that you are a candidate for curative surgery, it could lead to a remission of your illness.
When a cure isn’t possible or you are too sick to withstand the rigors of curative surgery, palliative surgery can relieve your symptoms and help to make you more comfortable. Thoracentesis, for example, is a surgical procedure in which fluid is drained from the chest to make breathing easier.
Mesothelioma Treatment: Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy is a mesothelioma treatment in which drugs are used to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be used as a stand-alone mesothelioma treatment or as a complement to surgery, radiation, or immunotherapy. Some common chemotherapy drugs used in mesothelioma treatment are cisplatin, gemcitabine, alimita®, coramsine®, and endostatin. Chemotherapy drugs may be given orally or intravenously, either alone or in combination with other drugs.
Mesothelioma Treatment: Radiation
As a mesothelioma treatment, radiation is typically used in combination with chemotherapy or surgery to relieve symptoms and keep cancer cells from dividing rapidly. Radiation alone is not considered an effective mesothelioma treatment.
Mesothelioma Treatment: Experimental Therapies
Clinical trials involving experimental mesothelioma treatments are a source of hope for many patients. To gain access to cutting-edge mesothelioma treatments before they go to market, ask your doctor about participating in a clinical trial.
Mesothelioma Treatment: Holistic Approaches
Some patients find relief in holistic treatments, such as yoga, breathing exercises, nutritional supplements, or special diets designed to boost the immune system, increase relaxation, or reduce pain.
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