Living with mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases is not easy. Malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer, and no cure has yet been found. However, there are a variety of treatment options available, and many people live for years after being diagnosed with mesothelioma.
There is hope.
Chemotherapy drugs are used to kill cancer cells and prevent them from spreading. Because the chemicals involved are very potent and often carry side effects, such as nausea and vomiting, patients are typically put on a cycle of treatment and recovery.
Several chemotherapy drugs, including cisplatin, pemetrexed, and gemcitabine have shown promise in improving the median survival rate for mesothelioma patients.
Radiation therapy targets and kills cancerous cells with doses of radiation. In mesothelioma patients, radiation therapy is typically used in conjuction with surgical and/or chemotherapy treatments, and may help prevent the spread or further growth of cancer.
Although surgery has not proven to be very effective by itself in treating and/or preventing the spread of mesothelioma, it has been used to in conjunction with radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Several types of surgery are used to treat varying types of mesothelioma; these procedures include:
Immunotherapy treatments attempt to use the body’s natural defenses to attack and destroy cancerous cells. These treatments work to boost or guide the immune response by “training” the immune system to identify cancerous cells as foreign substances and eliminate them from the body. Immunotherapy treatments have yielded mixed results for mesothelioma patients, and several new variants continue to be tested.