Treatments for Mesothelioma

® Quick Summary

Treatments like surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation can help malignant mesothelioma patients reach long-term survival. Mesothelioma treatments come with a price, however, costing most patients hundreds of thousands of dollars in total. Learn how Sokolove Law may help you get compensation to afford treatment.

Mesothelioma Treatment Options

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

There are 4 main treatment options for mesothelioma:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation
  • Immunotherapy

The intensive treatments that many mesothelioma patients undergo have steep price tags. In fact, diagnosing and treating mesothelioma usually costs over $400,000.

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You may be able to access compensation to help pay for these costs of care by working with Sokolove Law.

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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.”

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) or pleurectomy with decortication (P/D).

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 14-18 months. Without treatment, mesothelioma patients typically live for 6 months after diagnosis.

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 the EPP.

Patients can only undergo a P/D if the cancer has not spread to other areas in the body. Eligible patients who receive this surgery live between 4-19 months longer than those who received no treatment.

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.

The average life expectancy after this procedure is 47 months — nearly 4 years.

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 treatment that uses cancer-killing drugs to destroy malignant tumors and cells.

The most common chemotherapy drugs used to treat mesothelioma are cisplatin and pemetrexed. The average cost for the customary 6 cycles of this drug combination is nearly $40,000.

When combined with six rounds of bevacizumab (another type of chemotherapy drug), 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 treatment, like surgery.

“Typically, to do radiation — to treat the whole chest cavity — you have to remove the entire lung [through surgery].”

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. Patients can use their insurance to reduce these costs.

Clinical Trials and New Mesothelioma Treatment Options

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

One new 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.

Other new treatments being tested in clinical trials include:

  • Photodynamic Therapy (PDT): This therapy uses light-sensitive drugs called photosensitizers to kill cancer cells, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
  • Gene Therapy: Gene therapy involves genetically-modifying mesothelioma cancer cells to respond better to existing treatments.
  • Virus Therapy: This involves using viruses to infect mesothelioma cells with certain genes that can help kill the cancer.
  • Cryotherapy: 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.

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.

Common Questions About Mesothelioma Treatment

There is a lot to know about mesothelioma treatments, so Sokolove Law has answered some common questions below.

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 specialist can help determine which mesothelioma treatments may work best for your case.

We Can Help You

Sokolove Law can help you connect you with a mesothelioma specialist. Reach out to our team now.

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

Unfortunately, mesothelioma almost always returns — even after major surgeries and other treatments. This is known as a recurrence. While it may not be safe for you to receive another surgery, there may be other ways to extend your lifespan.

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 lawsuit with our help, you may be able to access compensation set aside for victims of asbestos-related diseases.

Sokolove Law Can Help You Access Treatment

Sokolove Law understands the toll that mesothelioma treatments can take, physically, emotionally, and financially.

Our firm has helped thousands of mesothelioma victims access compensation and understand their medical options. We may be able to assist you, too.

With Sokolove Law, you can:

  • Pursue compensation from mesothelioma lawsuits and asbestos trust funds
  • Learn about available mesothelioma treatments
  • Receive advice from our on-staff nurses

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

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: October 16, 2020

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