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.
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.
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.