Dear Ask The Doctor: If diagnosed with Mesothelioma, what are the available treatment options?
Dear Dan: It is very difficult to advise you on a possible treatment for mesothelioma without knowing the exact location and stage of the disease, certainly this would depend on your health and certain aspects of your cancer, such as its stage and location. Unfortunately, mesothelioma often is an aggressive disease and for most people a cure isn't possible.
Surgery could be tried in instances where it is diagnosed at an early stage. Sometimes it isn't possible to remove all of the cancer. In those cases, surgery may help to reduce the signs and symptoms caused by mesothelioma spreading in your body.
Chemotherapy drugs; Systemic chemotherapy travels throughout the body and may shrink or slow the growth of a pleural mesothelioma that can't be removed using surgery. Chemotherapy may also be used before surgery (neoadjuvant chemotherapy) to make an operation easier or after surgery (adjuvant chemotherapy) to reduce the chance that cancer will return.
Radiation therapy focuses high-energy beams to a specific spot or spots on your body. Radiation may reduce signs and symptoms in people with pleural mesothelioma. Doctors aim radiation at the entire chest to obtain the best result. However, many sensitive organs are in the chest, such as the heart, lungs, esophagus and spinal cord, so doctors must use low doses of radiation to spare these organs.
The combination of these treatments are sometimes preferred to treat aggressively and with better results, however this might not be tolerated on everyone and would be reserved for young patients with an early diagnosis. I hope this could clarify your doubts.