Can Radiation Help with a Mesothelioma Diagnosis?
Radiation has been used for decades and recent improvements have allowed specialists to fine-tune its use in fighting mesothelioma. Targeted therapy is used to shrink tumors prior to surgery in a multimodal therapy treatment plan. Radiation also is used to alleviate pain and kill mesothelioma cancer cells.
When used in combination with surgery and chemotherapy, radiation has shown to be a very effective method for treating mesothelioma. The refinement seen in the newer technology used to deliver the therapy minimizes the toxic exposure and risk. In fact, specialists prefer to use radiation in shrinking tumors and alleviating pain because it does not produce the negative side effects associated with chemotherapy.
Radiation cannot cure cancer, but the benefits it brings to limiting pain and tumor size makes it a very effective treatment method for mesothelioma. Here are some of the main reasons why mesothelioma patients will want to use this treatment method:
- Increasing your life expectancy
- Directly target mesothelioma tumors while sparing healthy tissue and cells
- Pain relief
This treatment is painless and lasts only 10 minutes or less. Your mesothelioma specialist is generally able to target the tumor exactly and administer the correct dosage. The process is relatively simple. When visiting your treatment center or doctor’s office, you will be asked to lie still while the radiation is delivered to the spot the physician has mapped out. You may feel a little light-headed or experience nausea, so your doctor will most likely want you to be accompanied by a family member or friend. The radiation side effects are mild compared to chemotherapy.
What are the Treatment Options?
There are several different types of radiation treatment options. Whether a particular option is right for you depends on a number of factors. These factors are the stage of your mesothelioma, your overall health, whether your mesothelioma has spread throughout the body and the size of your tumor. The types of radiation used to treat mesothelioma are:
- External Beam is a type of used in X-Ray, CT Scan, 3D Conformal or Three Dimensional Treatment (3D-CRT) and Intensity-Modulated Treatment. This method does not require any preparation to perform and can be used for all stages of mesothelioma.
- Intraoperative is a type used during a patient’s surgical procedure. By performing this procedure during a surgery, the mesothelioma specialist is able to administer the treatment directly to the tumor site and not hit healthy tissue and cells.
- SMART or Surgery for Mesothelioma After Radiation Therapy is a method of treating mesothelioma by using a multimodal procedure. This method uses Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy prior to a Extrapleural Pneumonectomy.