Mesothelioma can be an extremely difficult strain of cancer to treat. It is resistant to most know treatments. It progresses quickly in its spread throughout the body, possibly because of its developmental proximity to the bloodstream, and it is frequently not diagnosed until it is in its later stages. This last is due to a long latency period and a nonspecific presentation of symptoms. There are three main treatments that are used against the disease, with somewhat more success than any other available options, and these are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.

For the most part, these treatments can be applied in conjunction with one another, creating a multiphasic approach to the treatment of the disease. They can be used both curatively and palliatively to increase the patient’s quality of life while reducing the spread of the disease. Of these treatments, some form of chemotherapy is almost always used against the disease. Chemotherapy can be used after an important surgery like an extrapleural pneumonectomy in order to increase the likelihood of success. It can also be used as the main curative therapy, when the patient’s mesothelioma has progressed to far for such surgeries. It has a curative effect in that it suppresses the cancer’s growth, but it also has palliative effects. By reducing the size and spread of the tumors, the chemotherapy can reduce the effect of the disease upon the patient’s body. This can improve their quality of life considerably.