Mesothelioma is a terminal illness, and as such its normally recommended treatments are palliative and not curative, meaning that they aim primarily to ease the suffering of the patient. Depending on the stage of the disease at the time of diagnosis, the age, gender and health of the patient, and other factors such as lifestyle and medical history, treatments can be expected to yield varying levels of success. Unfortunately the disease’s latency period, or the amount of time it takes to become symptomatic, combined with the average age and health of its victims often results in a late diagnosis, and subsequently the inefficacy of treatment and a grim prognosis. While some mesothelioma patients have been known to survive with the disease for several years, the vast majority of patients are told to expect no more than six months to two years at best.
The most frequently recommended palliative treatments for mesothelioma are surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. The use of each specific treatment is appropriate for certain types of the disease and specific stages of its progression. More often than not, the three main types of treatment are used in combination to achieve better results and longer survival. Alternative options such as radical diet or lifestyle changes may provide some level of relief if traditional treatments are deemed unlikely to prove effective.
Treating mesothelioma surgically involves physically removing tumors and malignant tissue from the patient’s body. Surgery is often considered the most proactive form of mesothelioma treatment, and is appropriate for many types of the disease as long as the patient is likely to recover from the operation. There are several different types of surgery.
Learn more about treating mesothelioma with surgery.
Chemotherapy refers to the use of chemicals to slow down or otherwise impede the growth of cancerous tumors or malignant cells. While chemotherapy is often unable to completely eradicate mesothelioma, and often causes collateral damage to healthy, normally functioning tissues, it can be very useful in combination with surgery or other treatments. The term chemotherapy covers a wide array of drugs that can be administered in several different ways.
Learn more about treating mesothelioma with chemotherapy.
Radiotherapy, short for radiation therapy, is comprised of bombarding malignant tumors with high energy rays that destroy mesothelioma cells. Radiotherapy is often applied to localized areas for controlling specific growths, and is rarely considered an effective treatment on its own. Often used in combination with chemotherapy and surgery, radiotherapy is useful for managing tumor growth in specific areas of the body.
Learn more about treating mesothelioma with radiotherapy.