Is There a Cure for Mesothelioma?
There is no cure for mesothelioma. Most patients do not survive longer than two years after diagnosis because the cancer usually goes undetected until it reaches an advanced stage and aggressively spreads. But new diagnostic and treatment technologies are improving its prognosis.
It’s one of the first questions mesothelioma patients ask their doctors after learning of their diagnosis: “Is there a cure?”
Unfortunately, the answer is no. While remission and recurrence is common, there is no cure for mesothelioma — at least not right now.
But, improvements to current cancer treatments and breakthroughs in clinical trials are getting researchers closer to finding a cure.
What’s the proof? Some survivors are living longer, healthier lives, despite the less-than-optimistic prognosis.
Current Treatments Fuel Mesothelioma Research
Chemotherapy, radiation and surgery remain the traditional and best treatments for mesothelioma. Researchers are improving their efficacy and looking for new ways to perform these therapies.
As a result, surgeries are more precise, therapies are more exact, and chemotherapy and radiation are more effective.
Here are some examples of how researchers are refining these treatments:
Chemotherapy: The most effective chemotherapy treatment combines the FDA-approved drugs pemetrexed and cisplatin. Researchers are now looking at the possibility of adding bevacizumab (Avastin) to the combination. The hope is that all three drugs will delay the cancer spread and increase overall survival rates.
Surgery: Extrapleural pneumonectomy, pleurectomy/decortication and cytoreductive surgery with HIPEC are major mesothelioma surgeries. Researchers are evaluating if adding heated chemotherapy or cryotherapy (freezing of tumors) to certain surgical procedures will improve overall effectiveness.
Multimodal: A multimodal therapy approach that combines surgery with both chemotherapy and radiation has proven effective in early-stage patients. Even patients who are not candidates for surgery have found chemotherapy and immunotherapy combinations that can work for them.