Treating Mesothelioma with Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. For mesothelioma, chemotherapy is usually given intravenously – through an IV, directly into a vein, usually into the hand or arm. Sometimes the drugs are administered through a catheter (a soft, thin, flexible tube) inserted directly into the abdomen or the chest. A medical oncologist, a doctor who is specially trained and certified to treat cancer, will deliver the chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy is often the next step after surgery to try to kill any cancer cells that may have been left behind. The goal is to stop the cancer from spreading, or at least slow its growth. This is called adjuvant chemotherapy.
Usually, a patient will undergo two or more cycles of chemotherapy, with each set of treatments followed by a recovery period.
Chemotherapy can also be given to shrink tumors before surgery.
If the cancer is too advanced to attempt to stop it and chemotherapy is given to relieve symptoms like pain, it is called palliative chemotherapy.
Clinical trials are currently under way to try to find a cure for patients who can’t undergo surgery. These trials are testing experimental and FDA-approved chemotherapy drugs that can shrink tumors with the hope of doing more than just easing pain.