Treatment Options

There are a number of malignant mesothelioma treatment options. Malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive and fatal disease. Generally speaking, mesothelioma treatments are divided into two categories: traditional mesothelioma treatments and non-traditional mesothelioma treatments.

Traditional Mesothelioma Treatments

Traditional mesothelioma treatments are the same as those used to combat most other cancers. They include:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy (radiotherapy)
  • Surgery

These traditional modalities are often used individually, but can also be used in conjunction to serve as a more comprehensive and effective treatment for malignant mesothelioma.

The aggressive nature of mesothelioma is such that all three treatments are often combined in what is known as trimodality therapy. Chemotherapy is administered to slow the growth of mesothelioma tumors prior to surgical removal of cancerous tissue. Radiation therapy is used as a final step to target any lingering mesothelioma cells.

Although traditional treatments have proven ineffective in curing mesothelioma, they have the potential of extending patient survival time.

Non-Traditional Mesothelioma Treatments

Non-traditional mesothelioma treatments have been developed with the aim of succeeding where traditional modalities have failed. These treatments sometimes involve newly developed treatments and experimental practices that have not been fully evaluated for safety and efficacy.

Some of the more popular non-traditional mesothelioma treatments include:

  • Photodynamic therapy (PDT) – A light-based treatment incorporating a photosensitizing agent designed to react with cancer cells.
  • Immunotherapy
  • Experimentation with new chemotherapy agents
  • Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) – Radiotherapy that delivers highly targeted doses of radiation to mesothelioma tumors without causing significant damage to surrounding healthy tissues.
  • Gene therapy

Non-traditional mesothelioma treatments can incorporate traditional treatments in a non-traditional manner. One example is a procedure called extrapleural pneumonectomy, a non-traditional surgical treatment for pleural mesothelioma. During this invasive surgery, cancerous pleural tissue is removed along with the lung closest to it. When used in conjunction with other traditional treatments, a non-traditional surgery can prove capable of extending patient survival time.

Mesothelioma Treatments: Curative vs. Palliative

Mesothelioma treatments are not always intended to serve a curative purpose. Treatment is often focused on alleviating the pain and discomfort associated with mesothelioma symptoms. This is known as palliative treatment.

One of the more common palliative treatments associated with malignant mesothelioma involves draining fluid from the pleural, peritoneal or pericardial space. Tumor-associated fluid buildup is one of the leading causes of pain and discomfort for mesothelioma sufferers.

Whereas curative treatments are designed to maximize a mesothelioma sufferer’s survival time, palliative treatments are designed to ensure that their remaining days can be lived without pain and discomfort.

The attorneys at Levin Simes Abrams are experienced mesothelioma lawyers. To contact Levin Simes Abrams, complete the free consultation form on this page or call us at 415-426-3000.