Active treatment for pleural mesothelioma

A range of active treatments are recommended for some people with pleural mesothelioma. These aim to control or cure the cancer and can include chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery, which may be used alone or in combination. Trimodality therapy for pleural mesothelioma is a combination of all three.

Each person with mesothelioma is different and there is no standard treatment path. Your specialist will discuss your treatment options with you, and these will depend on a number of factors including:

  • the location, stage and type of mesothelioma, which helps estimate the likelihood of response to treatment
  • your age, health and fitness
  • your family circumstances and support
  • what is most important to you.

Learn more about these active treatments:

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Deciding to pursue active treatment

The active cancer treatments discussed here help some people to achieve a longer period of control over the disease and improve their quality of life. It is important to realise that most are intensive treatments and they are not suitable for everyone.

Even if a particular treatment is recommended, it will be up to you whether or not to proceed (see Making Treatment Decisions). Talk to your treatment team about what is involved and what recovery will be like. You can also call Cancer Council 13 11 20 or talk to one of the mesothelioma Support Services.

Recent advances in treating mesothelioma

Mesothelioma treatment has improved in recent years. There are more accurate ways to diagnose and stage the disease, better surgical techniques and post-surgery care, new evidence-based chemotherapy combinations and new radiation therapy methods.

Clinical trials are testing promising new drug treatments such as immunotherapy and targeted therapy. Immunotherapy slows the growth of cancer or kills cancer cells by altering the body’s immune system response. Targeted therapy attacks specific particles within cells that allow cancer to grow and spread.

These newer treatments are still experimental and can be very expensive unless you are part of a clinical trial. Your specialist may suggest that you join a clinical trial for your initial or later treatment.

This information was last reviewed in May 2017
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