When a diagnosis of mesothelioma is made, the first question usually asked is “what are my treatment options?” Often, those with mesothelioma are hesitant to start chemotherapy, because of the perceived side effects which can often accompany the treatment.
While chemotherapy can still carry severe side effects, modern medicine has made cancer treatment far less miserable than it was even 10 years ago. There are different types of mesothelioma chemotherapy: systemic therapy (injections), intrapleural (directly into the chest) and intrapertioneal (into the abdomen) are the most common. Chemotherapy is the main treatment (along with radiation therapy) and slows the progression of the disease. This allows for a higher quality of life.
Several chemo drugs are used to treat mesothelioma. Most common are a combination of pemetrexed and cisplatin. Other combinations include carboplatin and cisplatin with gemcitabine (Gezmar). While these drugs do carry side effects, such side effects are usually short term and may be lessened with the help of other therapeutic modalities.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, make sure you understand all the treatment options available and how those may affect you. Be sure to report side effects or changes you notice while on chemotherapy to your doctor immediately.