Options for mesothelioma treatment are steadily increasing for Hawai’i patients. Standard treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, which are often combined in what is known as multi-modality approach. Some patients may want to explore complementary or alternative remedies.
Because each patient is different, there is no one right path when it comes to mesothelioma treatment. What works for one patient may not work for another. Most of the therapies that are available can also have serious side effects, and the choice of treatments can be difficult and bewildering.
The recommended treatment in each case will vary based on the size and location of the tumor, the stage of the disease, and the patient’s age and general health. Standard treatment options for mesothelioma include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. In many cases, your doctor may recommend a combination of two or more of these treatments, known as a multi-modality approach.
Discuss Treatment Options with Your Medical Team
Before you decide on a treatment plan, it is important to discuss each treatment option with your medical team to make sure you understand all the risks and benefits involved. You may even want to bring a list of questions to ask your doctor.
You should also be aware that because mesothelioma is a relatively rare cancer, many doctors have limited experience with treating mesothelioma patients. If possible, you may want to seek out a specialist who has treated a large number of mesothelioma patients and is up-to-date on all the latest research.
Ultimately, however, the most important thing is to find a good, experienced oncologist and medical team who you trust and feel comfortable with. Your own treating physicians will be your best source of medical information. You want to find a doctor who will listen to your concerns and answer all of your questions patiently and respectfully.
Over One Hundred Clinical Trials Underway
There is more medical research being done on mesothelioma today than ever before. Scientists all over the world are working hard to improve our understanding of mesothelioma and to develop new treatments, including the scientists right here at the Cancer Research Center of Hawai’i. More than one hundred mesothelioma clinical trials are currently underway to test the fruits of this research. As a result, treatment options are steadily increasing. Doctors have already made significant progress in helping people manage their symptoms, and allowing many people with mesothelioma to live longer than before.
Pass, H., Vogelzang, N., Carbone, M., ed., Malignant Mesothelioma: Advances in Pathogenesis, Diagnosis, and Transitional Therapies. Springer: New York. 2005. National Cancer Institute. Malignant Mesothelioma Treatment. http://www.cancer.gov/
American Cancer Society. Detailed Guide: Malignant Mesothelioma.