Mesothelioma Treatment: Should You Choose Chemotherapy Or Radiation Before Surgery?

Targeted radiation therapy may be the better way to treat mesothelioma before surgery when compared to chemotherapy. According to recent recent research, radiotherapy is not only safer than chemotherapy, but it also doesn’t cause any additional side effects.

A team of Canadian researchers with the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto, ran comparison tests by studying intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) and chemotherapy on mesothelioma patients who underwent surgery. All mesothelioma patients at the cancer center who underwent extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) surgery from from January 2001 throughout December 2014 were researched in the study.

hospital room

The doctors first removed any of the patients who did not have induction therapy or who already had both types of treatment before surgery. With the remaining 126 patients, the doctors split them up into two groups. The first group were 64 patients who already underwent chemotherapy before surgery, while the other 62 patients had already underwent IMRT.

After thoroughly analyzing the patients’ outcomes after their surgeries, the doctors determined that there were quite a few advantages to the patients who underwent IMRT. According to thoracic surgeon Pierre Mordant, MD, one of the researchers in the story,

“Induction IMRT was significantly associated with a decreased risk of transfusion with red blood cells as well as plasma and platelets.”

Furthermore, the report indicated that patients who underwent IMRT didn’t have any extra complications when compared to the patients who underwent chemotherapy before surgery.

“IMRT was not associated with any significant increase in the surgical risks above and beyond induction chemotherapy.”

More About Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy has been proven to be beneficial for all stages of mesothelioma, and can be administered before and after surgery. It consists of high-energy X-rays or gamma rays targeting malignant mesothelioma tumors.

It’s also a relatively easy treatment for patients. Once a patient comes in for radiation treatment, they generally lie down and stay still while while a radiation technician places the radiation beam on their body. The radiation then targets the mesothelioma tumors.

The treatment only lasts around 10-15 minutes for each session, although it may be slightly longer, depending on the technician and how long it takes to get the equipment set up. The sessions typically go on for around five to eight weeks.

After radiation treatment, patients may experience the follow symptoms (not all patients will experience every symptom):

  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Slight hair loss
  • Skin dryness, itchiness, and peeling
  • Should stiffness
  • Cough
  • Slight fever
  • Dry mouth

Again, it’s important to remember that not all patients who undergo radiation therapy will get the same symptoms. Some people may have more than others and in some cases, patients may have little to no side effects at all.

The benefits of radiation therapy include:

  • Pain relief (shrinking mesothelioma tumors provides patients with pain alleviation)
  • Relative safe treatment
  • Extended life expectancy
  • Can possibly kill more cells than chemotherapy can alone
  • Kills a large amount of cancerous cells
  • Relatively painless procedure
  • Doesn’t leave significant scarring

Additional Help and Resources for Mesothelioma Patients

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma or asbestos-related lung cancer, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. There is currently over $30 billion in asbestos trust funds, set up for those who are victims to asbestos-related diseases. Use our free Asbestos Attorney Locator Tool today to find a leading mesothelioma attorney in your area. For questions or additional assistance, feel free to contact us at 800-793-4540.

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