Chemotherapy for Mesothelioma

Chemotherapy is a common mesothelioma treatment.  This form of treatment involves using drugs aimed at killing cancer cells and helping slow tumor growth. Cisplatin and pemetrexed is the most popular mesothelioma drug combination. Other chemo drugs that can be used to treat mesothelioma include carboplatin, vinorelbine, and gemcitabine. And while, often, chemo drugs are given as combinations of two drugs, single drugs can be used in patients who cannot tolerate more than one drug. Read on to learn more about chemotherapy for mesothelioma.

How is Chemotherapy Given?

Usually, chemotherapy is given in cycles, with every treatment period being followed by a rest period. Rest is crucial as it helps the patient’s body to recover. Generally, chemotherapy cycles last about three to four weeks.

According to the American Cancer Society, the following are the two main ways chemotherapy can be given to mesothelioma patients;

  • Systemic chemo: This involves injecting chemo into the blood through a vein
  • Intrapleural or intraperitoneal chemo: This involves putting drugs right into the body space where the cancer is. When chemo drugs are given this way, the highest concentrations of the drugs go where the cancer cells are.

Combining Chemotherapy With Other Mesothelioma Treatments

Mesothelioma patients can receive chemotherapy alone or in combination with other treatments, such as surgery, immunotherapy, or radiation therapy. According to the American Cancer Society, chemotherapy works best when it is used in combination with surgery.

Chemotherapy may be given before surgery or after surgery. When chemo is given before surgery, it is called neoadjuvant therapy. When it is given after surgery, it is called adjuvant therapy. Chemo may be given before surgery if surgery can treat mesothelioma to try to shrink the cancer and reduce the risk of spreading. After surgery, chemo can be given to try to kill any remaining cancer cells.

Who is Eligible for Mesothelioma Chemotherapy?

After a mesothelioma diagnosis, it is up to the doctor to determine if chemotherapy is the best treatment option for a patient. Some of the factors doctors consider when deciding if chemo is the best treatment option for a patient include the mesothelioma cell type, overall health, and previous therapies.

Note: Often, doctors do not recommend chemotherapy for patients in poor health, but advanced age alone is not a barrier to getting chemo.

Side Effects of Chemotherapy

Side effects are common with chemotherapy, and some can be severe. Side effects depend on the drug type and dose, how the drugs are given, and how long they are used. That said, the following are some of the common side effects of chemotherapy;

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Hair loss
  • Mouth sores
  • Low blood counts
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increase chance of infections

Usually, side effects disappear after treatment. Also, catching side effects early and seeking treatment makes it easier to control them and prevent them from worsening. Patients should discuss the side effects of chemotherapy with their doctors. A specialist can advise on ways to help manage side effects. Depending on the case, the doctor may pause or end treatment.

Nationwide Mesothelioma Lawyers                                               

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced nationwide mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.



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