Mesothelioma Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a mesothelioma treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of mesothelioma cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping the cells from dividing. Doctors also give mesothelioma chemotherapy to help reduce pain and other problems caused by mesothelioma. It may be given alone, with radiation, or with surgery and radiation.

When chemotherapy is taken orally or injected into a vein or muscle, the drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout the body (systemic chemotherapy).

Mesothelioma Radiation

Radiation therapy, also called radiotherapy, involves the use of high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. When used to treat mesothelioma, radiation therapy is directed to a limited area and affects the cancer cells only in that area.

Radiation therapy may be used before surgery to shrink a tumor, or after surgery to destroy any cancer cells that remain in the treated area. Doctors also use mesothelioma radiation therapy, often combined with chemotherapy, as primary mesothelioma treatment instead of surgery. Radiation therapy may also be used to relieve symptoms such as shortness of breath.

Diagnosis Mesothelioma

Making a mesothelioma diagnosis is often difficult because mesothelioma symptoms are similar to those of a number of other conditions.

In order to make a diagnosis of mesothelioma, the healthcare provider will begin with a review of the patient's medical history, including any history of asbestos exposure. He or she will then perform a complete physical examination to look for signs or symptoms of mesothelioma. The doctor may also order some preliminary tests to rule out other, more common conditions. These tests can include x-rays of the chest or abdomen and lung function tests.

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