Treatment for mesothelioma depends on the location of the cancer, the stage of the disease, and your age and general health. Standard treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy, or a combination of these treatments.
- Surgery. Depending on how far the cancer has spread, the surgery may involve removal of part of the lining of the chest or abdomen and some surrounding tissue. For cancer of the pleura (pleural mesothelioma), a lung may be removed, and in some cases the muscle below the lungs that helps with breathing (diaphragm) also is removed.
- Radiation therapy. Also called radiotherapy, radiation therapy uses high-dose X-rays or other high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells.
- Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy uses drugs to fight cancer cells. Most drugs used to treat mesothelioma are given through a vein (intravenously).
- Thoracentesis. This is a treatment used to relieve symptoms and control pain in the chest, or to help with diagnosis. It involves placing a needle or a thin tube into the chest to drain fluid that has built up. The procedure for removing fluid from the abdomen is called paracentesis.
- Pleurodesis. After removing the fluid, doctors may then inject medicine into your chest to prevent fluid from returning.
- Supportive services. Supportive services for people with mesothelioma include pulmonary rehabilitation, pain management, psychosocial care, nutritional assessment and on-site patient education.
At Mayo Clinic, experimental treatments also are available for people who meet the requirements. Read more about the treatment of mesothelioma on MayoClinic.com.