Like other forms of cancer, there is currently no cure for mesophelioma. This disease can be treated, however, and many sufferers have gone on to lead rewarding lives.  Your doctor will recommend a treatment course by considering where the cancer is, how far it has spread, your age, and your general health.

You may receive treatment that is considered standard based on its effectiveness other patients, or you may choose to go into a clinical trial. Not all patients respond to standard therapy and some standard treatments may have more side effects than are desired. For these reasons, clinical trials are designed to find better ways to treat cancer patients and are based on the most up-to-date scientific and medical information. These trials are an integral part of the search for a mesophelioma cure, and are being conducted all around the United States with many patients with malignant mesothelioma. If you want more information, call the Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237); TTY at 1-800-332-8615.

Localized Malignant Mesophelioma (STAGE I)

If the cancer is only in one place in the chest or abdomen, your treatment will probably be surgery to remove part of the pleura and some of the tissue around it.

If the cancer is found in a larger part of the pleura, your treatment may be one of the following:

  • Surgery to remove the pleura and the tissue near it to relieve symptoms, with or without radiation therapy after surgery.
  • Surgery to remove sections of the pleura, the lung, part of the diaphragm, and part of the lining around the heart.
  • External beam radiation therapy to relieve symptoms.
  • A clinical trial of surgery followed by chemotherapy given inside your chest.
  • A clinical trial of surgery, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy.

Advanced Malignant Mesophelioma (STAGES II, III, AND IV)

Your treatment may be one of the following:

  • Draining of fluid in the chest or abdomen (thoracentesis or paracentesis) to reduce discomfort. Drugs also may be put into the chest or abdomen to prevent further collection of fluid.
  • Surgery to relieve symptoms.
  • Radiation therapy to relieve symptoms.
  • Chemotherapy.
  • A clinical trial of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
  • Chemotherapy given in the chest or abdomen.

Recurrent Malignant Mesothelioma

Your treatment depends on many factors, including where the cancer came back and what treatment you received before. Clinical trials are testing new treatments.


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