Mesothelioma treatments normally include radiation therapy, chemotherapy and, if warranted, 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 known as trimodality therapy. Although traditional treatments have proven ineffective
in curing mesothelioma, they have the potential of extending patient survival time.
During the past few years a variety of new drugs and non-traditional treatments for mesothelioma have been developed with the aim to succeed where traditional modalities have failed. Some of these treatments include photodynamic therapy (PDT), immunotherapy, experimentation with new chemotherapy agents, intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and gene therapy.
Mesothelioma treatments are not always intended to serve a curative purpose. In fact, the aggressive and fatal nature of malignant mesothelioma is such that treatment is often focused on alleviating the pain and discomfort associated with mesothelioma symptoms. This is known as palliative treatment.
Facing a mesothelioma diagnosis can be complicated. Patients should consult with their doctor regarding available treatments and seek consultation with a mesothelioma specialist as warranted.
What Should You Ask Your Doctor?
It is important to have open communication with your physician and cancer care team once you have been diagnosed and start going through the treatment process for mesothelioma. Here are some important questions we suggest asking your doctor:
- What kind of mesothelioma do I have (pleural, peritoneal, pericardial)?
- What stage is my cancer?
- What treatment options do I have?
- What are the risks and side effects of suggested treatments?
- How can I prepare myself for the treatment?
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