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Mesothelioma Treatments

Treatment of mesothelioma cancer depends how much the cancer has spread (aka metasized). Depending on the diagnosis, you can find out what stage of mesothelioma cancer has developed. What kind of treatment you will receive also depends on your age, health as well as the location of the mesothelima cancer. Normal treatments include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy and sometimes all these treatments are combined.

This may entail moving part or all of a lung and some of the surrounding tissue in order to remove the tumor and cancerous cells. It may also be necessary to drain the lungs of fluid, simply to make the patient more comfortable. The extent of surgery will depend largely upon the extent to which the cancer has spread.

Chemotherapy: For this procedure, drugs are used to fight the cancerous cells and kill them as well as shrink the tumor. These drugs can be swallowed by mouth if they are in tablet form, or the doctor may administer them needle directly into a vein or muscle. The drugs are then able to travel through the body via the blood stream and kill off any cancer cells that they come across.

Radiation Therapy: This is where high energy x-rays are used either outside the body (external radiation) or directed to the source internally (internal radiation) to shrink the tumor and kills off cancer cells. Internal radiation is preformed through the use of plastic tubing, where the doctor can also administer drugs.

Treating pleural mesothelioma is dependant on many things, and it is the doctor that will normally suggest the recommended course of treatment based upon his knowledge and the findings from his diagnostic tests. Factors such as the patient�s age, medical history, general well being, and even weight, are taken into account. Other factors that have to be considered include: how far the cancer has spread; and where the cancer is.
The treatments for the different types of mesothelioma are more or less the same in most cases, but obviously they are targeted towards different areas of the body depending upon which area has been affected by the cancer.
Unfortunately, patients typically are not diagnosed with mesothelioma until the cancer has spread to distant sites in the body. Patients with this advanced form of mesothelioma often are not eligible for surgery. Advanced mesothelioma is often treated with chemotherapy in order to improve quality of life or duration of survival for these patients.

Alimta® (pemetrexed) in combination with cisplatin (Platinol®) was recently approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of inoperable malignant mesothelioma. Alimta®/cisplatin is the first and only drug regimen proven to improve the duration of survival for patients with advanced malignant mesothelioma.


Sources of National Cancer Institute Information

Cancer Information Service
Toll-free: 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237)
TTY (for deaf and hard of hearing callers): 1-800-332-8615

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