According to Penn Medicine, the five-year survival rate for mesothelioma is 5%. While it may seem low, it is steadily increasing thanks to the many developments in treatment.
When it comes to the various mesothelioma treatment options, there is an emphasis on personalized care and a multidisciplinary approach.
Surgical intervention can be a viable option for some mesothelioma patients, depending on factors such as the stage of the cancer and the individual’s overall health. Surgeons may perform procedures, such as removing part or all of the pleura (lining of the lungs) or removing a lung, the pleura and surrounding tissues.
Chemotherapy is a systemic treatment that uses drugs to target and destroy cancer cells throughout the body. It often occurs in coordination with surgery to shrink tumors or prevent recurrence. While chemotherapy can have side effects, including nausea and fatigue, it has proven effective in managing mesothelioma.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to target and kill cancer cells. It can be external or internal, depending on the location and size of the tumor. Radiation therapy can help reduce pain and slow the progression of the disease.
Immunotherapy is an innovative treatment that harnesses the body’s immune system to fight cancer. While still in the experimental phase for mesothelioma, certain immunotherapies have shown promise in clinical trials. They work by enhancing the immune response to target cancer cells more effectively.
Targeted therapy involves drugs that specifically target cancer cells’ genetic mutations or overactive proteins. By interfering with the growth and spread of cancer cells, targeted therapies aim to minimize harm to healthy cells and tissues.
Effective mesothelioma treatment is often most effective when using a combination of these approaches, tailored to the individual’s specific diagnosis and needs. Patients must work closely with a multidisciplinary healthcare team, including oncologists, surgeons, radiologists and palliative care specialists, to develop a personalized treatment plan.