Primary Mesothelioma Treatments

Primary Mesothelioma Treatments

Since early 2006, the state-of-the-art mesothelioma treatment always includes some form of surgery. Either complete resection (if possible) or surgical debulking is a necessity for adjuvant treatments to be maximally effective. Surgery by itself is not considered optimal and the practice of combining surgery with either chemotherapy, radiation, or both has gained acceptance as the preferred approach. This combination of methods is called multimodality mesothelioma treatment and has shown the most progress of any approach.

Even chemotherapy by itself is now rarely administered as a single agent. Chemotherapy mesothelioma treatment protocols usually involve two or more complementary agents, often with widely different targets for each therapy. Assessments of various clinical trials and experience with treatment outcomes that rarely include stable disease have demonstrated that single protocol treatments are much less effective. Single agent protocols are therefore rapidly falling into disfavor.

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Mesothelioma: Multimodality Treatments

Multimodality treatments that combine several complementary approaches to mesothelioma treatment, i.e. surgery together with either radiation or a combination of chemotherapy agents, are complicated treatments and should only be pursued at a mesothelioma center of excellence.

Surgeries like extrapleural pneumonectomy can involve significant risks of mortality and morbidity if performed by a surgical and post-surgical nursing team with limited experience. Experienced medical teams can help to prevent or circumvent these issues.

Surgical Treatment: Risks and Side Effects

Whether pleural or peritoneal, surgery offers the greatest chance for success but may include serious, even life-threatening side-effects. Such side effects, depending upon whether the surgery is abdominal or thoracic may include hemorrhage, lung infection, empyema, bronchoplenral fistula, heart arrhythmia, chest pain, abdominal pain, digestive problems, constipation, hemoptysis, nerve damage, pulmonary embolism, pneumothorax, or pneumonitis. The surgery itself may introduce malignant seeding at the site of the incisions. Certain chemotherapies may introduce another, entirely different set of morbidity issues such as neuropathy, loss of appetite, tinitus, hair loss, weight loss, nausea and low blood counts of white and red blood cells.

Improvements in Mesothelioma Treatment

Despite the risks, the treatment of mesothelioma has made significant progress against the disease and with skillful intervention by experienced mesothelioma specialists the benefits of treatment far outweigh the alternatives. This is true, both in terms of improved quality of life, and in median survival times, which keep growing in leaps and bounds. The choice of a treatment path is very much dependent upon the type of mesothelioma the staging of the disease and the health of the individual.

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