How is mesothelioma treated?

  • Surgery
    • Wide local excision – Taking out cancerous tissue and some healthy surrounding tissue
    • Pleurectomy and decortication – Taking out some of the covering of the lungs, the lining of the chest, and part of the outside surface of the lungs
    • Extrapleural pneumonectomy – Taking out one whole lung and part of the lining of the chest, the diaphragm, and the lining of the sac around the heart
    • Pleurodesis – Using chemicals or drugs to cause scarring in pleural tissue, which stops the buildup of fluid in the pleural cavity
  • Radiation therapy – Using X-rays or other kinds of radiation to kill cancer cells, usually following surgery. It is very difficult to surgically remove all the tissue affected by mesothelioma.
  • Chemotherapy – Using drugs (a pill that is swallowed or an injection directly into a vein or muscle) to stop the growth of cancer, either by killing the cells or stopping them from dividing

What can be expected after treatment for mesothelioma?

Following treatment, tests that were first used to diagnose or learn the stage of cancer may be repeated. These retests will help determine how well treatments have worked, whether the condition has changed, whether different treatments should be tried, and whether the cancer has come back.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/29/2016.


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  • Ai, J., Stevenson, J.P. Current issues in malignant pleural mesothelioma evaluation and management. Oncologist. 2014:19;975-984.
  • Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry. Living with Asbestos Accessed 2/3/2016.
  • National Cancer Institute. Malignant Mesothelioma Treatment Accessed 2/3/2016.

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