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.
01. Standard Mesothelioma 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:

Mesothelioma Treatment Surgery Icon

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

Chemotherapy for Mesothelioma Icon

Chemotherapy drugs attack fast-growing mesothelioma cancer cells.

Mesothelioma Radiation Icon
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 & Treatments

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

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

New Mesothelioma Therapies Icon

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.

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

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

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A procedure that drains excess fluid from the pleural cavity.

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

Paracentesis Icon

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:

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
Decortication (P/D)

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

Pneumonectomy (EPP)

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

Treatment for Peritoneal Mesothelioma

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

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

Photo of Harvey Pass, M.D.

Harvey Pass, M.D.

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

Photo of Anne S. Tsao, M.D.

Anne S. Tsao, M.D.

Director of the Department of Mesothelioma Program
Houston, TX

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

What is the standard treatment for mesothelioma?

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 for mesothelioma.

What is the best treatment for mesothelioma?

Multimodal treatments are the best treatments for mesothelioma, according to research:

  • Chemotherapy, surgery and radiation extended pleural mesothelioma survival beyond 39 months.
  • Surgery and heated chemotherapy extended peritoneal mesothelioma survival beyond 8.3 years.

The best treatment for each mesothelioma patient will depend on several factors. Mesothelioma specialists can help patients determine the best approach for their unique situation.

What are the treatment options for mesothelioma?

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