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Mesothelioma Treatment

Expert Fact Checked

This page was medically reviewed by James Stevenson, M.D. on March 10, 2019. 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.
01. Standard Treatments

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:

Surgery

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

Learn More About SurgeryLearn More About Surgery
Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy drugs attack fast-growing mesothelioma cancer cells.

Learn More About ChemotherapyLearn More About Chemotherapy
Radiation Therapy

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

Learn More About Radiation TherapyLearn More About Radiation Therapy
Multimodal Therapy

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

Learn More About Multimodal TherapyLearn More About Multimodal Therapy
02. Trials & Treatments

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

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

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy uses the immune system to fight cancer cells.

Learn More About ImmunotherapyLearn More About Immunotherapy
Gene Therapy

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

Learn More About Gene TherapyLearn More About Gene Therapy
Photodynamic Therapy

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

More About Photodynamic TherapyMore About Photodynamic Therapy

Resources for Mesothelioma Patients

We offer assistance to those navigating mesothelioma treatment decisions and medical-related financial difficulties. Click the links to learn more about top mesothelioma doctors, cancer centers and financial support options.

Connect With a Top Mesothelioma Doctor

Get help finding a specialist near you

Locate a Mesothelioma Cancer Center Near Me

Get help finding treatment near you

Financial Assistance for Mesothelioma Patients

Get help paying for treatment costs

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


Pleurocentesis

A procedure that drains excess fluid from the pleural cavity.

Pleurodesis

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

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.

Common alternative treatment options include:

  • Chiropractic cancer treatment
  • Healing touch and touch therapy for cancer
  • Medical marijuana
  • Mind-body therapies
  • Nutritional and herbal supplements
04. Treatment by Type

Treatment 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 spares the cancerous lung. The procedure removes the lung lining and visible tumors in the chest cavity. 

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.

05. Doctors & Cancer Centers

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 and 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 Harvey Pass, M.D.

Harvey Pass, M.D.

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


Photo of Paul H. Sugarbaker, M.D.

Paul H. Sugarbaker, M.D.

Gastrointestinal Surgical Oncologist
Washington, DC
Bio


Photo of Anne S. Tsao, M.D.

Anne S. Tsao, M.D.

Director of the Department of Mesothelioma Program
Houston, TX
Bio


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 University Cancer Center

Duke University Cancer Center

Durham, NC 27710


UF Health Cancer Center

UF Health Cancer Center

Orlando, FL 32806


06. Treatment and Life Expectancy

Treatment and Life Expectancy


The average life expectancy for mesothelioma patients is 15 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.

Common Questions About Mesothelioma Treatment

How is mesothelioma usually treated?

Mesothelioma is typically treated with a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation. The combination of treatments is referred to as multimodal therapy.

Are there new methods for treating mesothelioma?

Clinical trials continue to look for new mesothelioma treatments. Immunotherapy is an experimental treatment that has shown particular success.

Can mesothelioma ever be cured?

Researchers continue to search for a mesothelioma cure. Currently, early detection and treatment is the best way for patients to potentially improve their prognosis.
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