Palliative Treatment Pleural Mesothelioma

Posted on Monday, May 9th, 2016 at 3:22 pm    

Palliative treatment is a treatment option for cancer that does not cure the cancer but gets rid of the discomfort and pain associated with the cancer. Palliative treatment aims to manage pain and symptoms of cancer. The main goal of palliative treatment is to relieve pain, reduce symptoms and to improve the quality of a patient’s life. Palliative treatment is often for patients who are diagnosed with terminal cancer and who have a poor prognosis. Patients in cancer stages III or IV choose palliative treatment because there is no curative treatment options for them. The option for palliative treatment is dependent on the patient’s cancer staging, type of cancer diagnosed, age and overall health. Palliative treatment may not be a cure to cancer but it has the potential to prolong life expectancy for pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma and pericardial mesothelioma.

Palliative treatment Pleural Mesothelioma


For pleural mesothelioma if surgery is not recommended symptoms may include coughing, chest pain and shortness of breath. For pleural mesothelioma, palliative treatment has three main options:

  1. Surgery
  2. Chemotherapy
  3. Radiation therapy

Palliative treatment Pleural Mesothelioma – Surgery


There are two procedures used in surgery for pleural effusion. These procedures are designed to extract fluid buildup in the lungs. The two procedures are pleurodesis and thoracentesis. These both extract fluid and relieve pressure on the lungs.

Pleurodesis additionally seals up the space where fluid builds up, this is a more permanent solution to the problem. The results of both procedures are that breathing is easier and coughing lessens. Most patients have reported relief to shortness of breath as a result of the surgery.

Palliative treatment Pleural Mesothelioma – Chemotherapy


When used alone chemotherapy drugs are able to kill cancerous mesothelioma cells, relieve symptoms, improve quality of life and prolong the survival of patients. However, most patients are discouraged from using chemotherapy because of its side effects. These include vomiting, nausea, hair loss and loss of appetite.

Palliative treatment Pleural Mesothelioma – Radiation Therapy



When used alone radiation therapy reduces tumor size to effectively relieve chest pain through relieving pressure on the lungs and chest as a result of reduction in the size of tumors. Some patients are concerned about the side effects of radiation therapy, which are; skin irritation, fatigue, pleural effusion and pulmonary toxicity (if high dosages are used).

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