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Mesothelioma Treatment

Expert Fact Checked

This page was medically reviewed by James Stevenson, M.D. on January 20, 2022. For information on our content creation and review process read our editorial guidelines. If you notice an error or have comments or questions on our content please contact us.

James Stevenson, M.D. Thoracic Medical Oncologist

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  • The latest clinical trials and treatment methods
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Mesothelioma cancer treatment commonly combines surgery, chemotherapy and/or immunotherapy. Patients may also receive radiation or supportive care, known as palliative care. Treatment can provide symptom relief and extend life expectancy for mesothelioma patients.

Key Facts
84%

Pleural mesothelioma 1-year survival rate with multimodal treatment

71%

Percentage of pleural mesothelioma patients in the U.S. who receive treatment

150+

Number of ongoing mesothelioma clinical trials

U.S.A.

World leader in mesothelioma clinical trials

01. Treatment Options

How Is Mesothelioma Treated?

Treatment for mesothelioma cancer typically involves a combination of therapies. Doctors will determine an individual’s treatment plan based on cancer type, stage and patient characteristics. The American Society of Clinical Oncology recommends the following mesothelioma treatment options:

Mesothelioma Treatment Surgery Icon
Surgery

Surgery can partially or fully remove cancerous tumors and affected lymph nodes.

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Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy drugs attack fast-growing mesothelioma cancer cells.

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Radiation Therapy

Radiation is used to kill mesothelioma cells and prevent cancer from spreading.

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Multimodal Therapy

Multimodal therapy is a combination of two or more cancer treatments.

02. Clinical Trials

Mesothelioma Clinical Trials and Emerging Treatments

Researchers are continuously making advancements in mesothelioma treatment. In medical studies called clinical trials, doctors test the safety and efficacy of emerging drugs and treatments. Experimental therapies may be an option for patients who are not responding to traditional types of treatment.

Emerging Mesothelioma Treatment Options

Photo of scientist in lab

Emerging treatments are currently only available through clinical trials. These experimental therapies could become standard treatment options for mesothelioma if proven safe and effective.

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Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy uses the immune system to fight cancer cells.

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Gene Therapy

Gene therapy modifies the genetic structure of cells to help kill cancer and improve the effectiveness of treatment.

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Photodynamic Therapy

Photodynamic therapy uses light-activated drugs to kill cancer cells.

03. Palliative Care

Palliative Care for Mesothelioma Patients

Palliative mesothelioma treatment is used to manage cancer symptoms and improve a patient’s quality of life. Palliative care may be used alongside standard treatments or as a patient’s sole form of treatment.

Common Palliative Surgeries

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Pleurocentesis

A procedure that drains excess fluid from the pleural cavity.

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Pleurodesis

A procedure that prevents fluid buildup by closing the pleural cavity.

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Paracentesis

A procedure that drains excess fluid from the abdomen.

Alternative Mesothelioma Treatment

Some mesothelioma patients decide to supplement cancer treatment with alternative medicine. Alternative therapies may help relieve the side effects of standard treatments.

Photo of man receiving treatment

Common alternative treatment options include:

Mesothelioma Nutrition and Self-Care

Some mesothelioma patients incorporate nutrition and mental health therapies into their treatment plans. Meeting nutritional needs may help support vital organ function during cancer treatment. In addition, mental health care may help patients deal with the stress and emotional toll of mesothelioma treatment.
Some patients also find mesothelioma support groups heartening. A support group may provide a comfortable environment in which patients can discuss their individual approaches to diet, nutrition and self-care.

04. Treatment by Type

Treatment Options by Type of Mesothelioma

Doctors will consider the type of mesothelioma and cancer stage when determining the best mesothelioma treatment. Pleural mesothelioma and peritoneal mesothelioma are the two most common types of the disease. These forms may have more treatment options available compared to rarer types of mesothelioma.

Treatment for Pleural Mesothelioma
Pleurectomy/Decortication (P/D)

A surgery that removes the lung lining and visible tumors in the chest cavity. The procedure preserves healthy lung tissue.

Extrapleural Pneumonectomy (EPP)

A surgery to remove the cancerous lung, impacted surrounding tissues, nearby lymph nodes and the diaphragm.

Treatment for Peritoneal Mesothelioma
Cytoreductive Surgery

A procedure to remove visible tumors from the abdominal cavity. This surgery is often followed by HIPEC.

Heated Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC)

A heated chemotherapy wash administered directly into the abdominal cavity immediately after cytoreductive surgery.

Mesothelioma Doctors and Cancer Centers

There are doctors and cancer centers around the United States who specialize in treating malignant mesothelioma. Working with top mesothelioma doctors can provide patients with the best treatment plan possible.

Find Mesothelioma Doctors & Cancer Centers Near You

Find Mesothelioma Doctors & Cancer Centers Near You


Top Mesothelioma Doctors

Individuals diagnosed with mesothelioma should seek care from doctors with extensive knowledge and experience treating the disease. Trained mesothelioma doctors understand the intricacies of the disease and are familiar with the latest trends in mesothelioma cancer research.

Photo of Raphael Bueno, M.D.

Raphael Bueno, M.D.

Chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery and Director of the International Mesothelioma...
Boston, MA
Bio

Photo of David M. Jablons, M.D.

David M. Jablons, M.D.

Chief of General Thoracic Surgery and Director of the Thoracic Oncology Laboratory
San Francisco, CA
Bio

Photo of Harvey Pass, M.D.

Harvey Pass, M.D.

Director of General Thoracic Surgery and Chief of Thoracic Oncology
New York, NY
Bio

Photo of Anne S. Tsao, M.D.

Anne S. Tsao, M.D.

Director of the Department of Mesothelioma Program
Houston, TX
Bio

Best Mesothelioma Treatment Centers

If a patient is diagnosed with mesothelioma, they can be referred to a specialized cancer center. These institutions are located throughout the country, and many are connected to top medical universities.

Mount Sinai Medical Center

Mount Sinai Medical Center

Lung and Thoracic Cancer Services
New York, NY 10029


Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Brigham and Women’s Hospital

International Mesothelioma Program at The Lung Center
Boston, MA 02115


Duke Cancer Center

Duke Cancer Center

Durham, NC 27710


Orlando Health Cancer Center

Orlando Health Cancer Center

Orlando, FL 32806

06. Treatment & Life Expectancy

Mesothelioma Treatment and Life Expectancy

Life expectancy for mesothelioma patients commonly ranges from 18 to 31 months. However, patients can improve life expectancy through standard and emerging treatments. Although there is no cure for mesothelioma, doctors are constantly researching new ways to treat the disease. Each year, experts conduct hundreds of mesothelioma clinical trials in hopes of finding a cure.

Mesothelioma Survivorship

Mesothelioma patient and survivor Heather Von St. James talks about the treatment options her doctor presented to her when she was diagnosed with mesothelioma.

07. Treatment Cost

Mesothelioma Treatment Costs

Pleural mesothelioma treatment costs range from about $30,000 to $75,000 in the first year. Multiple factors may affect total treatment cost, including insurance coverage and treatment approach. Patients and their loved ones may find it beneficial to make financial plans early in the treatment process. This may help reduce stress and ease financial burdens.

Costs of Common Mesothelioma Treatments

Chemotherapy | $40,000

A typical chemotherapy regimen for mesothelioma includes pemetrexed and cisplatin. According to a recent report, six cycles of treatment with this combination cost $38,779.

Surgery | $60,000

Pleural mesothelioma patients may undergo pleurectomy/decortication (P/D) or extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP). A recent report estimates these surgeries cost $53,993 and $62,408 respectively.

Insurance may cover some portion of mesothelioma treatment costs. Patients may also qualify for various forms of financial assistance. A mesothelioma lawyer can help patients determine the best financial approach.

08. Common Questions

Common Questions About Mesothelioma Treatment