One of the most effective ways to treat mesothelioma tumors is chemotherapy. This treatment is aimed at killing cancer cells and shrinking tumors. It also lessens a patient's pain and gives surgeons a better chance at removing tumors, lowering the chance that they will return. Although chemotherapy cannot cure mesothelioma, in combination with other treatments, it can be used as both an effective early-stage and long-term choice.
Chemotherapy treatments are administered in the form of a drug that is swallowed or injected and that is able to target and kill cancer cells. Some of the most common types are pemetrexed, which targets the DNA synthesis of cancer cells, cisplastin, which is a non-specific cancer-fighting agent and doxataxel, which focuses on mitosis. Often, more than one type of drug will be given at once in order to target multiple cancer cell phases. No matter the type of chemotherapy drug used to treat mesothelioma, there are two ways that it can be administered.
Types of Chemotherapy
No matter the type of chemotherapy drug used, it can only be administered one of two ways. The first, known as systemic chemotherapy, is when a drug is injected or taken orally. At that point, the medication circulates freely in the body. This allows the drug to attack cancer cells wherever they may be located. Unfortunately, the drugs sometimes attack healthy cells, too. Often, these cells are fast-growing and mimic cancer to some degree. Blood cells in bone marrow and those in the digestive tract are most commonly affected.
The second method involves applying the drugs directly to the cancer site. In these types of treatment, the drugs are injected directly into the cancer site, allowing the medication to be absorbed by cancer cells.
Although it may be used alone, chemotherapy is typically combined with surgery and radiation. This practice is called multimodal therapy, and it usually carries the best chance of limiting a tumor's spread or removing it altogether. In multimodal therapies, chemotherapy may be performed before a patient undergoes surgery (neoadjuvant) or afterward (adjuvant). Neoadjuvant chemotherapy limits the tumor size, and adjuvant chemotherapy prevents recurrence. Chemotherapy can also be used to reduce pain and help patients manage their symptoms.
Overall, chemotherapy cannot cure mesothelioma, but it is extremely effective in both reducing tumor size and limiting symptoms, especially when combined with other treatment options. If you'd like to learn more about your choice for treating mesothelioma, contact us today for a free information package. We can provide the best information available.