What happens when pleural mesothelioma becomes active again?

For nearly every person with pleural mesothelioma, the disease will become active again even if it has responded well to treatment. This is known as disease progression or recurrence.

When mesothelioma becomes active again, you and your doctor will need to consider what treatment is needed to try to regain control of the disease and provide relief from symptoms.

Treatment options will depend on the symptoms you are experiencing and may include:

  • radiation therapy to reduce the size of the regrowth and pain
  • further chemotherapy or second line chemotherapy
  • further surgery
  • participating in a clinical trial to access new drugs being developed and tested.

Palliative treatment for mesothelioma can be offered alone or in combination with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. For more on this see Advanced Cancer.

At some point, you may decide to stop active treatment and focus on managing symptoms and maximising quality of life. For more on the physical, emotional, spiritual and practical impacts of living with end-stage cancer, see Advanced Cancer.

Listen to podcasts on Making Treatment Decisions and Cancer Affects the Carer too

The role of hope

A diagnosis of advanced cancer does not mean giving up hope. People with mesothelioma often have many good months or years ahead of them and can continue to enjoy many aspects of life, including spending time with their families and other people who are important to them.

As the disease progresses, the things that are hoped for tend to change. For example, a person may now focus on living comfortably for as long as possible or being able to celebrate a particular event. You can have these hopes while still acknowledging the reality of the situation.

  — Bill

This information was last reviewed in May 2017
View who reviewed this content
View our editorial policy

Support services

Coping with cancer?
Speak to a qualified health professional someone who has been there, support groups & forum

Need legal and financial assistance?
Practical advice and support during and after treatment

Looking for transport, accommodation or home help?
Practical advice and support during and after treatment

Cancer information

Advanced cancer
Advanced cancer is when cancer has spread from its original site or has come back. Learn more.

Patient rights and responsibilities
What you can reasonably expect from your health care professionals

View our publications
Guides and fact sheets for people with cancer, their families and friends