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Mesothelioma Treatments

Mesothelioma treatments vary depending on the location of the cancer, the stage of the disease, and the patient's age and general health. Standard mesothelioma treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Sometimes, these treatments are combined.

Mesothelioma Surgery
Surgery is a common treatment for mesothelioma. The doctor may remove part of the lining of the chest or abdomen and some of the tissue around it. For cancer of the pleura (pleural mesothelioma), a lung may be removed in an operation called a pneumonectomy. Sometimes part of the diaphragm, the muscle below the lungs that helps with breathing, is also removed.

Mesothelioma Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy, also called radiotherapy, involves the use of high-energy rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation therapy affects the cancer cells only in the treated area. The radiation may come from a machine (external radiation) or from putting materials that produce radiation through thin plastic tubes into the area where the cancer cells are found (internal radiation therapy).

Mesothelioma Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy is the use of anticancer drugs to kill cancer cells throughout the body. During mesothelioma chemotherapy most drugs for mesothelioma treatments are given by injection into a vein (intravenous, or IV). Doctors are also studying the effectiveness of putting mesothelioma chemotherapy directly into the chest or abdomen (intracavitary chemotherapy).

Mesothelioma Treatments for Symptom and Pain Relief
To relieve symptoms and control pain, the doctor may use a needle or a thin tube to drain fluid that has built up in the chest or abdomen. The procedure for removing fluid from the chest is called thoracentesis. Removal of fluid from the abdomen is called paracentesis. Drugs may be given through a tube in the chest to prevent more fluid from accumulating. Radiation therapy and surgery may also be helpful in relieving symptoms.

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