Mesothelioma Treatment

Treatments for mesothelioma include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, which can help mesothelioma patients reach long-term survival. However, mesothelioma treatments come with a price, costing most patients hundreds of thousands of dollars. Learn how Sokolove Law may be able to help you get compensation to afford mesothelioma treatment.

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Treatment Options for Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Because it can take 20-50 years for symptoms to first appear, the cancer is often more advanced or has spread by the time patients receive a mesothelioma diagnosis.

After a diagnosis, patients can access mesothelioma treatment to ease their symptoms and live longer.

Man in wheelchair with nurseThere are four main treatment options for mesothelioma:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation
  • Immunotherapy

Many doctors may also recommend treatment plans that combine two or more mesothelioma treatment options, which can be more effective in improving life expectancy.

The intensive treatments that many mesothelioma patients undergo have steep price tags and can add up quickly.

$400,000

Average Yearly Cost of Mesothelioma Treatment

For decades, many manufacturers of asbestos products put millions at risk of developing harmful diseases, like mesothelioma, even when they knew the dangers of their products.

At Sokolove Law, our experienced mesothelioma lawyers have been committed to helping families pursue compensation for over 40 years, so their loved ones can get the mesothelioma treatment they need.

Mesothelioma Surgery

The most effective type of mesothelioma treatment is surgery, in which doctors remove cancerous tumors from the body. The surgery recommended (if any) to a patient depends on their mesothelioma type and stage, and their overall health.

"My longest survivors are the ones who have undergone surgery."
– Dr. Raja Flores, Mesothelioma Specialist

Pleural Mesothelioma Surgery

Malignant pleural mesothelioma develops in the lining of the lungs (pleura). Doctors typically use one of two surgeries to treat pleural mesothelioma:

  • Extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP)
  • Pleurectomy with decortication (P/D)

Without treatment, pleural mesothelioma patients typically live for only 4-12 months after diagnosis.

Extrapleural Pneumonectomy (EPP)

An EPP removes cancerous tumors, the lung closest to the tumors, the pleura, the heart lining (pericardium), and part of the diaphragm.

This aggressive surgery has a recovery time of up to 10 weeks and a median survival of 36 months when combined with other treatments.

An EPP costs eligible patients over $62,000 on average.

Pleurectomy With Decortication (P/D)

A P/D removes cancerous tumors and the pleura but spares both lungs, making it a less invasive option than an EPP.

A P/D is only a treatment option if the cancer has not spread to other areas in the body. Patients who receive this surgery have a median life expectancy of 34 months.

The average cost of a P/D alone is nearly $54,000.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Surgery

Peritoneal mesothelioma develops in the peritoneum (abdomen lining). Doctors typically use cytoreductive surgery and heated chemotherapy drugs to treat eligible patients with peritoneal mesothelioma.

Cytoreduction with HIPEC

Cytoreduction with HIPEC is the most effective form of peritoneal mesothelioma treatment.

This procedure is a two-step process:

  1. Parts of the peritoneum and all visible mesothelioma tumors are removed through cytoreductive surgery.
  2. Doctors apply hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) directly into the abdominal cavity to kill any remaining cancer cells.

Patients who receive this procedure can expect an average mesothelioma life expectancy of 53 months.

Cytoreduction with HIPEC costs nearly $84,000 on average.

Surgery for Rare Mesothelioma Types

In very rare cases, mesothelioma can develop in the lining of the heart (pericardium) or testicles (tunica vaginalis).

To treat pericardial mesothelioma, doctors may perform a pericardiectomy to remove cancerous tumors and the heart lining. Testicular mesothelioma is treated through an orchiectomy, which removes the testicle closest to the cancerous tumor.

Mesothelioma Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a mesothelioma treatment option that uses cancer-killing drugs to destroy malignant tumors and cells.

Chemotherapy
Cancer patient having chemotherapy IV drip medicine.

The most common chemotherapy drugs used to treat mesothelioma are cisplatin and pemetrexed.

The average cost for the customary six cycles of a cisplatin and pemetrexed combination is nearly $40,000.

When combined with six rounds of the chemotherapy drug bevacizumab, this cost soars to almost $90,000.

Radiation Therapy

With radiation therapy, doctors use X-rays or other energy waves to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy interrupts the DNA of mesothelioma cells, preventing them from multiplying.

Though radiation is useful, it can damage healthy cells and cause serious side effects like hair loss, vomiting, and diarrhea. As a result, radiation is only used to treat mesothelioma in certain cases, and it is almost always used alongside other forms of mesothelioma treatment, like surgery.

"Typically, to do radiation — to treat the whole chest cavity — you have to remove the entire lung [through surgery]."
– Dr. Joseph Friedberg, Mesothelioma Specialist

The average cost of radiation for patients with lung cancer, whose radiation treatment is similar to that of pleural mesothelioma patients, is almost $11,000.

Immunotherapy

Through immunotherapy, patients receive medications to boost their body’s immune system response to cancer.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared the immunotherapy medications Yervoy® and Opdivo® for use on those with pleural mesothelioma in October 2020.

For an average infusion of Opdivo and Yervoy, the list price ranges from over $22,000 to nearly $40,000.

Clinical Trials & New Mesothelioma Treatment Options

In clinical trials, researchers study newer types of treatments for mesothelioma with the hopes of finding a cure for mesothelioma. Patients may benefit from these new therapies if standard mesothelioma treatments don’t help them.

Other new treatments being tested in clinical trials include:

  • Photodynamic Therapy (PDT): Uses light-sensitive drugs called photosensitizers to kill cancer cells, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI)
  • Gene Therapy: Genetically modifying mesothelioma cancer cells to respond better to existing treatments
  • Virus Therapy: Uses viruses to infect mesothelioma cells with certain genes that can help kill the cancer
  • Cryotherapy: Kills mesothelioma cells by freezing them

Sokolove Law can help patients learn more about emerging treatments and clinical trials. Contact us today for more information.

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Successful Clinical Trials

One new mesothelioma treatment is called the Optune Lua. Formerly known as the NovoTTF-100L, this device uses electrical currents to prevent mesothelioma cells from multiplying.

The maker of the device, Novocure, reported that mesothelioma tumors either shrank or stopped growing in 97% of patients who used Optune Lua alongside chemotherapy.

Clinical trialsAnother example of a successful clinical trial is from researchers with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. They studied peritoneal mesothelioma patients who received the immunotherapy drug atezolizumab (brand name: Tecentriq®) and the chemotherapy drug bevacizumab (Avastin®).

The researchers found that patients in the clinical trial responded incredibly well to the treatment combination, with many patients reporting cancer cells had not progressed during the first year of treatment.

Palliative Treatment for Mesothelioma

Patients with advanced cancer may not be eligible for life-extending treatments. Doctors may instead recommend palliative care, which focuses on easing symptoms of mesothelioma and keeping the patients comfortable.

Mesothelioma palliative treatments include:

  • Thoracentesis: Some mesothelioma patients experience collections of fluid in the lung lining (pleural effusions) that cause a dry cough, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Doctors use this procedure to drain fluid and ease symptoms.
  • Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic (VAT) Talc Pleurodesis: In this two-step procedure, doctors use a camera to insert talc into the lung lining. This helps patients whose pleural effusions return.
  • Partial Pleurectomy: This surgery removes part of the lung lining and cancerous tumors in pleural mesothelioma patients. It can also be used to manage pleural effusions and their symptoms.
  • Paracentesis: Paracentesis is used to help drain ascites (fluid buildup in the abdomen), which can cause abdominal bloating, vomiting, and shortness of breath. Doctors drain this fluid using a catheter or a needle.
  • Natural Mesothelioma Treatments: Natural therapies like meditation, dietary supplements, and yoga may ease symptoms like nausea and vomiting. They can also help patients manage anxiety and depression. However, natural treatments are not substitutes for professional medical care.

Get Help Affording Mesothelioma Treatment

Sokolove Law understands the toll that mesothelioma can take on families — physically, emotionally, and financially.

As a national asbestos law firm, we have helped thousands of mesothelioma victims access over $5 Billion in mesothelioma compensation. We may be able to assist you, too.

By working with Sokolove Law, you can:

Learn how Sokolove Law can help you — get a free case review today.

FAQs About Mesothelioma Treatment

Can mesothelioma be treated?

Yes. Mesothelioma can be treated with the goal of improving a patient’s life expectancy. Like most cancers, some factors influence the treatment type and its effectiveness.

Factors influencing mesothelioma treatment options include:

  • Age and overall health of the patient
  • Stage of the cancer
  • Whether or not the cancer seems resectable (removable through surgery)

A patient’s preferences will also play a role in determining how to treat a certain case of mesothelioma.

What are the best treatments for me?

With all of the available mesothelioma treatment options, it can be hard to know which ones will help you the most. Thankfully, a mesothelioma specialist can help determine which mesothelioma treatments may work best for your case.

If you need help finding a specialist or paying for treatment, contact us at (800) 647-3434.

Can mesothelioma be cured?

There is no cure for mesothelioma at this time. However, it is possible for some patients to enter remission through mesothelioma treatment plans. Remission is when the cancer cells are stable or not growing.

Talk with your mesothelioma specialist to develop the best treatment plan for you and your specific mesothelioma case.

My cancer returned after a major mesothelioma surgery. What are my options?

Mesothelioma is extremely aggressive, and unfortunately, it almost always returns — even after major surgeries and other treatments. This is known as recurrence.

While it may not be safe for you to receive another surgery, there may be other ways to extend your mesothelioma life expectancy.

Your mesothelioma care team can help you determine which follow-up treatments you may be able to receive if your cancer returns.

How can I afford mesothelioma treatments?

It can cost $400,000 or more to diagnose and treat mesothelioma, and just one treatment alone can cost thousands of dollars. Sokolove Law may be able to help you cover the costs of cancer treatments.

By filing a mesothelioma claim with our help, you may be able to access compensation set aside for victims of asbestos-related diseases.

Author:Sokolove Law Team
Sokolove Law Team

Contributing Authors

The Sokolove Law Content Team is made up of writers, editors, and journalists. We work with case managers and attorneys to keep site information up to date and accurate. Our site has a wealth of resources available for victims of wrongdoing and their families.

Last modified: November 22, 2022

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