Mesothelioma Treatment Options

Mesothelioma treatment options - Mesothelioma Forecast - Unfortunately, mesothelioma is one of several diseases that continues to produce a good disappointing and negative prognosis. As of today, there is no known or medically accepted cure for mesothelioma.

However, although it is extremely rare, there have been cases in which the disease has been cured without remission. In addition, advances in mesothelioma treatment have significantly improved overall life expectancy in patients with mesothelioma.

Determine the treatment options for mesothelioma, there are several factors that should be considered. Among the aspects to consider, the most common are:
  • Mesothelioma stage - The sooner the disease is diagnosed, the more likely the patient will survive.
  • Patients of age
  • Overall health status - If the disease has progressed to the extent that health is considered poor, the mesothelioma treatment options will prove to be limited for some can be very dangerous to consider.
  • Type of mesothelioma - Depending on the location of the cancer is determined the general type of treatment that can be administered.

Mesothelioma surgery

Surgery is often the first type of mesothelioma treatment option that is considered. However, the success of surgery, when performed alone, is not very successful. Patients who will undergo surgery and not perform other mesothelioma treatment options usually have a life expectancy of less than one year.

When surgery is combined with the other existing mesothelioma treatment options, namely radiation and chemotherapy, there may be higher success rates, although the results still prove to vary.

The most common types of surgery that are used for mesothelioma treatment options are:
  • Pleurectomy / Decortication - It involves the actual removal of the inner lining of the thoracic cavity, this is the most common type of surgery for patients with mesothelioma.
  • Extrapleural pneumonectomy - It involves the removal of various internal organs of the patient, which may include:
  • Part of the lung
  • Lining of the lungs
  • Coating of the thoracic cavity
  • Membrane hemi
  • Pericardium

Mesothelioma Radiation

Radiation is many times to patients after mesothelioma surgery to help even more against the disease. In general, patients who have localized cancer and are physically fit to withstand radiation treatment will be candidates for this type of mesothelioma treatment.

Radiation is usually also accompanied by chemotherapy and, for mesothelioma tumors, they appear to be quite resistant to radiation therapy alone. Radiation therapy alone has proven to be ineffective in the treatment of cancer and the amount of radiation needed to have any kind of effect is toxic to the human body.

Radiation is usually done with the intention of preventing the problems of remission and preventing the most widespread cancer along the chest wall and other internal organs. When used together with chemotherapy as a post-operative treatment option, the patient's life expectancy is often more than five years.

Mesothelioma Chemotherapy

Although other mesothelioma treatment options exist, the most effective has proven to be chemotherapy. The effectiveness of chemotherapy is even greater when used in combination with radiation after mesothelioma surgery.

In various tests, chemotherapy drugs such as cisplatin and pemetrexed have been used as the only treatment for patients with pleural mesothelioma, which yielded different results. However, there were general improvements in the use of chemotherapy alone, life expectancy at more than 13 months instead of the median of 10 months.

About Mesothelioma

Asbestos is a family of natural silicates whose structural properties and resistance to heat makes it useful for its inclusion in building materials and shipbuilding, car brakes and some textile products. Chrysotile (a serpentine fiber), crocidolite and amosite (amphiboles or straight fibers) are the 3 main types of asbestos that cause disease.

Asbestos workers have up to 10% risk of developing mesothelioma, with an average latency of 30 years. The risk is independent of the habit of smoking. Mesothelioma can spread locally or metastasize in the mediastinal and hilar nodes, pericardium, diaphragm, peritoneum, liver, adrenal glands or kidneys, and rarely in the tunica vaginalis of the testes.

Signs and symptoms

Patients usually present with dyspnea and non-pleuritic chest pain. The general symptoms are infrequent at the time of presentation. Invasion of the chest wall and other adjacent structures can cause severe pain, hoarseness, dysphagia, Horner's syndrome, brachial plexopathy or ascites.


  • Chest x-ray
  • Cytology of pleural fluid or pleural biopsy
  • Sometimes, video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) or thoracotomy
  • Staging with chest CT, mediastinoscopy and MRI or, sometimes, with PET and bronchoscopy

The pleural form of mesothelioma, which represents >90% of the cases (the other 10% are pericardial and peritoneal mesotheliomas) appears on the radiograph as a diffuse, unilateral or bilateral pleural thickening, which seems to cover the lungs, which usually results in the attenuation of the costophrenic angles. There are pleural effusions in 95% of cases and are usually unilateral, large and hemorrhagic. Diagnosis is based on pleural fluid cytology or pleural biopsy. Elevated levels of hyaluronidase in the pleural fluid are indicative, but not diagnostic of mesothelioma. If the diagnosis is uncertain after these procedures, a CTAV biopsy or thoracotomy is performed.

The staging is done with chest CT, and MRI mediastinoscopy. The sensitivity and specificity of MRI and CT are comparable, although MRI is useful to determine the extent of the tumor in the spine or spinal cord. PET has better sensitivity and specificity to distinguish benign pleural thickening from malignant. Bronchoscopy should be done to rule out coexisting endobronchial lung cancers.

Mesothelioma Asbestos Exposure

Is exposure to asbestos the cause of my mesothelioma? In two of three cases, people diagnosed with mesothelioma have one thing in common: Exposure to asbestos . They worked directly with products filled with asbestos in their activity; they worked in an environment, such as a shipyard, where exposure to asbestos is likely; or they lived with someone who may have transported asbestos fibers to their home through work clothes.

Is exposure to asbestos the only cause of mesothelioma? In a word, the answer is no. Currently, it is suspected that exposure to asbestos is not the only way to get asbestos cancer known as mesothelioma . However, no other cause has been definitively linked to the disease.

What is asbestos? Asbestos today is a term that has been given to a group of six different mineral fibers that occur naturally: chrysotile, anthophyllite, grunerite (amosite), riebeckite (crocidolite), tremolite and actinolite. The natural resistance of this group of fibers to heat and fire, and their resistance to conduct electricity, made asbestos one of the most widely used commercial substances in the 20th century.

The problem is that asbestos fibers separate easily from each other and are hundreds of times thinner than human hair. As a result, they can be breathed easily and inhaled into the lungs of anyone nearby.

How does asbestos affect the human body? When asbestos fibers are inhaled, ingested or, in rare cases, absorbed through the skin, they can lodge in the respiratory tract, lung tissue or the mesothelium membrane. Over time, after 20 to 50 years of exposure, noncancerous forms of asbestos-related diseases may appear, such as asbestosis, or more lethal cancers due to asbestos, such as pleural mesothelioma .

What is Malignant mesothelioma

Malignant mesothelioma It is a rare cancerous tumor . It mainly affects the lining of the lung and the thoracic cavity (pleura) or the lining of the abdomen (peritoneum). It is due to prolonged exposure to asbestos.


Prolonged exposure to asbestos is the biggest risk factor. Asbestos is a fire resistant material. This used to be commonly found on vinyl for ceilings, ceilings and insulation, cement and automobile brakes. Although many asbestos workers smoked, experts do not believe that smoking itself is a cause of this condition.

This affects men more often than women. The average age of diagnosis is at 60 years. Most people seem to develop the condition about 30 years after being in contact with asbestos.


Symptoms may not appear until 20 to 40 years or more after exposure to asbestos, and may include:
  • Abdominal distension
  • Abdominal pain
  • Chest pain, especially when taking a deep breath
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Respiratory difficulty
  • Weightloss
  • Fever and sweating
  • Tests and exams
The health care provider will perform an exam and ask the person questions about the medical history and symptoms. Tests that can be done include:
  • Chest x-ray
  • Computed tomography of the thorax
  • Cytology of the pleural fluid
  • Open lung biopsy
  • Pleural biopsy
Mesothelioma is often difficult to diagnose. Under the microscope, it can be difficult to distinguish between this disease and similar conditions and tumors.


Malignant mesothelioma is a difficult cancer to treat.

Usually, there is no cure, unless the disease is detected very early and the tumor can be completely removed with surgery. Most of the time, at the time of diagnosis, the disease is too advanced for surgery. The chemotherapy or radiation therapy can be used to reduce symptoms. Also, combining certain chemotherapeutic drugs can help reduce symptoms, but will not cure cancer.

Without treatment, most people survive approximately 9 months. Participating in a clinical trial (evaluation of new treatments) can give the person more treatment options. Treatments for pain relief, oxygen therapy and other complementary treatments can also help relieve symptoms.

Expectations (prognosis)

The average survival time varies from 4 to 18 months. The prognosis depends on:
  • The stage of the tumor
  • The age and general health of the person
  • If surgery is an option
  • The response of the person to the treatment
You and your family may want to start making plans for when the end comes, such as:
  • Palliative care
  • Patient care center for terminal patients 
  • Document of anticipated wills
  • Representatives for medical care
  • Possible complications
Complications of malignant mesothelioma may include:
  • Side effects of chemotherapy or radiotherapy
  • Continuous spread of cancer to other organs
  • When to contact a medical professional
  • Request an appointment with the provider if you have symptoms of malignant mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma Prevention

Avoid exposure to asbestos.

Alternative names

Mesothelioma - malignant; Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM)