There are several factors to consider for choosing the right method of treatment for mesothelioma. Factors like the severity of cancer, its location, the patient’s age and overall health.
The three standard treatment options for mesothelioma are surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. The physician may opt to choose one or combine the treatments.
Surgery which is the most common treatment for mesothelioma. Before undergoing surgery, however, the patient must do various tests to determine whether the option of surgery is absolutely safe depending on the condition of the patient and the spread of the tumor. Two types of surgery, aggressive surgery and palliative surgery are performed to remove cancer cells affecting the body. Aggressive surgery is usually performed on younger patients with generally good health. In this type of surgery, the affected organs are removed with the intention of totally eliminating as much cancer as possible.
Palliative procedures are performed in the later stages of mesothelioma. This is done to alleviate the symptoms suffered by patients. Palliative surgery includes removing of fluids from the lungs to relieve loss of breath, this is called thoracentesis. The removal of fluid from the abdomen is called paracentesis.
Radiation also is known as radiotherapy is where high energy x-rays are used to shrink tumors and kill off cancerous cells in the affected area. Like surgery, there are two methods of radiotherapy. One is through external means, when a machine emits radiation outside the body. The other way would use plastic tubes as a source of radiation to directly emit rays on the affected area. In this method of treatment, however, the right dose of radiation that would effectively remove the tumor is very difficult to determine.
Chemotherapy is the use of anticancer drugs. These drugs are aimed to kill cancer cells throughout the body. There are two ways to administer chemotherapy to a patient. One can be done intravenously (IV) or by injecting the drug into the vein of the patient. The other way is by taking it in the form of a tablet. As the medicine enters the bloodstream and travels through the body cancer cells are killed along the way, hopefully.