External Beam Radiation Therapy for Mesothelioma

External beam radiation therapy is a treatment during which an X-ray beam is applied to the site of the mesothelioma tumor. 

How Do Doctors Use It?

External beam radiation therapy is used for several applications including:

  • To prevent surgical tools from spreading the cancer
  • For when stronger radiation is dangerous
  • Target specific tissue without hitting the healthy tissue
  • Fine tuning the radiation to the right level
  • To keep from collateral damage

Why Do They Use This Method?

Some specialists prefer this treatment because it can provide patients with a higher survival rate. This treatment option is also preferable as it can be considered either before or after surgery takes place. In some cases, external beam radiation can help with shrinking tumors and lowers the pressure on the chest. 

Favored for Mesothelioma

Doctors especially favor this form of treatment because it has become one of the fastest developing technologies. Doctors can target tumorous cells more specifically while avoiding the healthy cells. This increases the effectiveness, while also limiting some of the dangerous side effects that can occur. Doctors also prefer this form of treatment, in comparison with chemotherapy, patients can experience fewer side effects.

Suited for Different Angles

Using external beam radiation, radiologists can target the tumor cells from multiple angles and can also turn radiation intensity up or down based on need. By doing this, each patient is given the right dose based on circumstances. Volumetric modulated therapy works faster than standard IMRT. In particular, this treatment has demonstrated usefulness for patients diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. 

For patients who may be experiencing side effects from radiation, they should report it to their specialist.

Oftentimes, a doctor may be able to help patients with managing this process to minimize discomfort. Some of the side effects that patients may experience include hair loss, fatigue and what appears like sunburn. Before beginning any treatment, patients will meet with doctors who will explain treatment options and what to expect as a result of them. In some cases, patients may benefit from speaking with multiple doctors to gain multiple opinions about how to proceed.