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Cancer Health Center

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Malignant Mesothelioma Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - Treatment Options for Malignant Mesothelioma

Localized Malignant Mesothelioma (Stage I)

If the malignant mesothelioma is in one part of the chest lining, treatment will probably be surgery to remove the part of the chest lining with cancer and some of the tissue around it.

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Note: Separate PDQ summaries on Testicular Cancer Treatment and Levels of Evidence for Cancer Screening and Prevention Studies are also available. Benefits Based on fair evidence, screening for testicular cancer would not result in an appreciable decrease in mortality, in part because therapy at each stage is so effective. Magnitude of Effect: Fair evidence of no reduction in mortality. Study Design: Opinions of respected authorities based on clinical experience, descriptive...

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If localized malignant mesothelioma is found in more than one place in the chest, treatment may be one of the following:

  • Pleurectomy and decortication, with or without radiation therapy, as palliative therapy to relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life.
  • Extrapleural pneumonectomy.
  • Radiation therapy as palliative therapy to relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life.
  • A clinical trial of anticancer drugs placed directly into the chest after surgery to remove the tumor.
  • A clinical trial of combinations of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
  • A clinical trial of a new treatment.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with localized malignant mesothelioma. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your doctor about clinical trials that may be right for you. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Advanced Malignant Mesothelioma (Stage II, Stage III, and Stage IV)

Treatment of advanced malignant mesothelioma may include the following:

  • Surgery to drain fluid that has collected in the chest, to reduce discomfort. Pleurodesis may be done to stop more fluid from collecting in the chest.
  • Pleurectomy and decortication, as palliative therapy to relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life.
  • Radiation therapy as palliative therapy to relieve pain.
  • Chemotherapy with one anticancer drug.
  • A clinical trial of regional chemotherapy after surgery to remove the tumor, for malignant mesothelioma that has spread to the peritoneum.
  • A clinical trial of combination chemotherapy.
  • A clinical trial of combinations of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
  • A clinical trial of chemotherapy placed directly into the chest cavity or abdominal cavity to shrink the tumors and keep fluid from building up.
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