There are many mesothelioma treatment options that can significantly prolong life expectancy and improve quality of life. Your treatment will depend on a number of factors, including your type of mesothelioma (pleural, peritoneal, or pericardial), the cell type (epithelioid, sarcomatoid, or biphasic), the stage (1–4), demographics (gender, age), and your overall health.
Patients diagnosed at stages 1 or 2 are often candidates for curative treatment options to remove as much of the cancer as possible. Because curative treatments are aggressive, often involving surgery and chemotherapy, they are usually reserved for younger patients who are otherwise healthy. For later-stage patients and those who are not in good health, doctors generally focus on palliative care to relieve pain and discomfort, mitigate symptoms (such as breathing difficulties), and extend life expectancy.
Mesothelioma Treatment Options
Treatment plans are tailored to the individual patient, but most mesothelioma patients pursue multimodal therapy, which involves a combination of treatment types. This often involves a three-step process (also known as trimodal therapy) of neoadjuvant therapy, primary therapy, and adjuvant therapy.
- Neoadjuvant therapy
- Treatment that occurs before the primary treatment in order to improve results. Neoadjuvant therapy for mesothelioma often includes radiation and/or chemotherapy.
- Primary therapy
- The main treatment for an illness. The primary therapy for mesothelioma is usually surgery.
- Adjuvant therapy
- Treatment that occurs after the primary treatment in order to improve results, prevent recurrence, and relieve pain or other symptoms. Adjuvant therapy for mesothelioma often includes radiation and/or chemotherapy.