Mesothelioma Treatment

Mesothelioma can be hard to treat, whether the cancer is resectable or not. It’s very important that you understand the goal of treatment before it starts – whether it is to try to cure the cancer or to help relieve symptoms – as well as the possible benefits and risks. This can help you make an informed decision when looking at your treatment options.

Despite years of research since the disease was first identified, it’s still difficult to identify the best approach to treating the disease, says David Rice, MD, a cardiothoracic surgeon and nationally known mesothelioma expert who practices at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX.
The very rareness of the cancer—only about 3,000 people a year are diagnosed in the United States—makes it difficult to run the kind of research studies needed to compare treatments and determine the ideal therapy at each stage of the disease. “There isn’t a lot of evidence-based science in this disease,” Dr. Rice admits. So when his patients ask him what the best treatment is for the disease, he tells them what we tell you in this section, adding that “we don’t have a reliable cure for this disease.”
Thus, a major goal of treatment is to reduce pain and suffering and prolong a patient’s life as long as possible while providing them with the highest quality of life possible.
Choosing the right mesothelioma doctor is an important first step in planning for treatment.
There are a number of mesothelioma experts, like Dr. Rice, practicing in specialized clinics throughout the country. Each of these cancer specialists has an acute knowledge of the behavior and pathology of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma and its treatment. It is likely that if you are diagnosed with mesothelioma, you will be referred by your personal physician to a larger scale comprehensive cancer center.
The most important consideration in mesothelioma treatment is the cancer stage and type, said Dr. Rice. Treatment decisions also depend on whether the cancer is localized to the chest or has spread to the chest wall, diaphragm, or lymph nodes, your age and overall health, and the center where you’re being treated. Learn more about finding a doctor here.
Conventional treatments for mesothelioma involve surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
As with most solid tumors, doctors turn to surgery, radiation and chemotherapy to manage mesothelioma. When exploring the various treatment options available with your doctor it is important to be informed about the risk and benefits of each one before making a final decision.
The stage (extent) of a mesothelioma is an important factor in determining treatment options. But other factors, such as whether the doctor feels the cancer is resectable (all visible cancer can be removed by surgery), as well as a person’s general health and preferences, also play a role.

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