Chemotherapy for Patients with Mesothelioma

For patients with mesothelioma, chemotherapy is often used in combination with surgery and radiation therapy to shrink tumors and control symptoms. Often, multiple chemotherapeutic agents such as pemetrexed and cisplatin can be given separately or as a combination product under the brand name Alimta.

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The Success Rate

Incorporating chemotherapy into a treatment plan has demonstrated a much higher success rate than without as this type of cancer, often arising from exposure to asbestos, has been known to be incredibly deadly. Many studies have shown benefit in 5-year survival when chemotherapy is incorporated into a treatment plan for a patient who is diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Using a Multimodal Approach

Doctors have found that using multiple forms of therapy have had the greatest impact on fighting back against this disease. A multimodal approach means that two or more treatment options are used in combination. Oftentimes, doctors will elect to combine chemotherapy with other treatment options including radiation therapy and surgery. Using a multimodal approach has been shown to give patients much higher chances of long-term survival compared to only using one treatment.

What Can You Expect During Treatment?

Before you start your treatment plan, your oncologist will look at the necessary dose, which type of drugs, and how frequently you will be given these medications. Usually, chemotherapy is given at regular intervals, which is known as cycles. In between treatments, healthy cells recover from the disease. Usually, first begin with a consultation with your specialist so that you can learn what to expect. Second, you will go through the stages of preparation. Many times, you will have a pump or catheter put in you before the process begins. Next, the treatment is administered and doctors will begin to treat you in three or four cycles every three weeks. Finally, you have post-treatment where you can get insights into the treatment and discuss the success and failure rate with your doctor.

“Financial Toxicity” can happen when patients struggle to afford their treatment.

As a result, patients can sometimes try to ration their treatment and it becomes less effective. If you find yourself in this situation you should not feel reluctant about discussing some of these things with your doctor, there can sometimes be help through cancer centers, drug companies, and other organizations.

Chemotherapy for Patients with Mesothelioma