Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is one of three standard treatments for mesothelioma. The others are surgery and chemotherapy. All three are used for both curative and palliative procedures. Although none of these treatments can cure the disease, they can be used to control its spread. Used together in a multiphasic approach, they can effectively slow its development and improve a patient’s quality of life.

Radiation therapies can be offered to a mesothelioma patient at any stage of the disease’s development. They can also be used in conjunction with other treatments, for example, external radiation therapy can be used before a surgery like extrapleural pneumonectomy to shrink the tumor or it can be delivered just after the surgery in a final high dose to prevent the recurrence of a tumor. Radiation therapies are delivered externally, internally, and systemically. These options allow physicians to target the dosage and the location of the radiation for maximum effect against the mesothelioma cells. In systemic radiation therapy, the treatment is applied orally or by injection and then circulated throughout the body to affect many cells. Internal radiation therapy is not a common treatment for mesothelioma, but involves the placement of radioactive materials near the site of a tumor in order to shrink it. Finally, external radiation therapy uses an external beam. It is frequently used to treat cancers that are difficult to remove surgically or have a high rate of recurrence.