Although more and more people are being diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer, the disease is still relatively uncommon and, in fact, many medical centers have little or no experience treating the disease. Mesothelioma medical centers that do specialize in mesothelioma treatment must rely on limited strategies, as there is no known cure and no universally agreed upon course of therapy. Chemotherapy, while not a cure, is often used in combination with other therapies in the mesothelioma treatment.
What is Chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that involves the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells. However, chemotherapy may also kill healthy cells—including those that cause the hair to grow, which is why people often lose their hair when undergoing chemotherapy. Side effects such as these usually disappear once the course of treatment is complete.
With some types of mesothelioma cancer, chemotherapy is enough to “cure” the disease. In other words, it will kill the cancer cells permanently. In cases where the cancer is more aggressive, as is the case with mesothelioma cancer, chemotherapy is used merely to control cancer growth and ease symptoms.
Types of Chemotherapy
There are various types of chemotherapy such as:
- Neoadjuvant chemotherapy, which is used to shrink a tumor prior to surgery or radiation therapy
- Adjuvant chemotherapy, which is used after surgery or radiation therapy to destroy remaining cancer cells
- Systemic chemotherapy uses anticancer drugs to destroy cancer cells throughout the body (hence the term “systemic”) as opposed to localized area. The drugs enter and circulate through the bloodstream after being administered orally, intravenously, or injected into a muscle.
- Intraperitoneal chemotherapy involves the direct injection of anticancer drugs into the abdominal cavity using a thin tube.
- Intracavity chemotherapy is an innovative approach to chemotherapy that is similar to intraperitoneal chemotherapy. The anticancer drugs are directly injected into the chest or abdominal cavity, where they can be administered at higher doses without causing the toxic effects they would if administered systemically through the bloodstream. The chemotherapy is then heated to increase its ability to kill cancer cells.
Mesothelioma Treatment Help
If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer, it’s important to find a medical center that specializes in the mesothelioma treatment of this rare and devastating disease. Treatment plans vary from person-to-person and an experienced team of cancer specialists can help devise the best plan for you.