Mesothelioma treatments

How do you Treat Mesothelioma?

Your Consultant will advise you of a number of treatment options available to you once diagnosed with the asbestos related illness, Mesothelioma. The best one for you will depend upon many factors such as:

  • age
  • progression of the disease
  • your general health, and
  • your feelings on the best treatment for you

You should discuss each mesothelioma treatment option fully with your treating Consultant before making a decision.

You may wish to explore the option of compensation to help with cost of any treatment or to support you and your family during this time; our specialist Mesothelioma Team can help you with this.

Options exist for treating mesothelioma patients:


Pleurectomy (dicortication)

This procedure involves removing the lining of the lung. Its advantages include a quicker recovery time: which is useful for those patients whose health would prevent them from undergoing the other available surgical procedure. The disadvantages include increased risk of recurrence of the disease as the procedure is unable to remove all traces of the disease.

Extrapleural Pneumonectomy

This procedure involves removing the entire affected lung, the pleura (lining of the lung) and the pericardium surrounding the heart and the diaphragm. The hospital will only offer this treatment to patients who demonstrate good heart and lung function. Its advantage is that it aims at removing a larger proportion of the disease during surgery. The main disadvantage is that it is a very radical procedure and more risk is involved along with a longer recovery time following surgery.


Chemotherapy treatment uses anti-cancer drugs, usually injected into the bloodstream. These drugs act to prevent the cancer cells from multiplying. Typically, to increase the effectiveness they will use a combination of drugs. Depending on the type of drugs used to treat you, treatment times can vary from every week or every 2 or 3 weeks.

Chemotherapy treatment slows down the growth and spread of the disease and acts to control symptoms. The most common drugs used include Gemcitabine (Gemzar), Carboplatin (Paraplatin) and Cisplatin (Platinol). Recently, a new anti-cancer drug called Pemetrexed Disodium or Alimta has proven effective in controlling symptoms as well as extending the survival time of mesothelioma patients by, on average, one third.


Radiotherapy treatment is sometimes used to slow down growth and spread of the cancer and also to control the symptoms of the disease. It involves using high energy x-rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumours. Radiotherapy has recently proven effective in preventing seeding which can cause recurrence of the tumour at biopsy and chest fluid drainage sites of the patient.

Mesothelioma Treatment Study

A recent study using a three-fold approach to treating mesothelioma has been deemed effective. By combining Pleurectomy, Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy treatments the study's results have demonstrated positive survival results and morbidity and warrants additional testing.

The future - Medical advances in treating Mesothelioma

A new centre has recently opened in Sydney's Concord Hospital, which is to become home to the world's 1st asbestos institute. The Bernie Banton Centre, named after an Australian social justice campaigner who died from an asbestos related illness in November 2007, is the world's largest facility dedicated to providing early diagnosis and treatment for victims. The Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has pledged $5 million funding to the $12 million centre.

Meanwhile, in the USA, researchers in the University of Pennsylvania and the National Cancer Institute have generated altered immune cells that have shrunk and in some cases, eradicated tumours in mice. Clinical trials are being developed to investigate this approach in patients with mesothelioma.

These developments help to provide a glimmer of hope to the growing number of sufferers worldwide.

Mesothelioma Compensation

If you have been diagnosed or are receiving treatment for Mesothelioma, please call our Asbestos Illness Team today on freephone: 0808 129 3320 or use our free, no obligation, online enquiry form to register for a call back as you and your family may be entitled to compensation.

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Gavin Evans | Partner &  Head of Industrial Disease | Simpson Millar LLP

Gavin Evans
Partner & Head of Industrial Disease

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