How to Mesothelioma Treatment
Doctors offer three primary types of treatment to mesothelioma patients: Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. The types of treatment you receive depend on your diagnosis, the stage and type of your mesothelioma and your overall health.
If the cancer has not yet spread, a combination of radiation, surgery and chemotherapy likely will be offered to you. This combined approach to treatment is called multimodal therapy.
If the mesothelioma already has spread significantly, doctors typically recommend palliative treatments that can help alleviate pain, breathing problems and other cancer symptoms that lessen your quality of life. You are still likely to be offered radiation and chemotherapy, but probably not major surgery options.
Radiation therapy can soothe pain and correct breathing issues by shrinking tumors that press on your nerves, veins and airways. Chemotherapy also shrinks tumors, helping with chest pain and night sweats. Non-curative surgeries can remove tumors that cause troublesome symptoms, or drain fluid that builds up in the chest or abdomen.
You may also want to talk to your doctor about other treatment options beyond surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Experimental treatments exist, mostly in clinical trials, and sometimes they can make a huge difference.
Some patients also pursue alternative treatments like massage therapy, acupuncture or yoga. These can often be added to standard treatments like chemotherapy, so talk with your doctor about which therapies you’d like to explore.
Who Are the Leading Mesothelioma Specialists?
The top specialists work at recognized mesothelioma centers. Some of the best known mesothelioma specialists, like Dr. David Sugarbaker, at Baylor College of Medicine, trained young surgeons who have moved on to other cities and treatment centers. Surgeons like Dr. Jacques Fontaine, at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa or Dr. Alexander Farivar, at the Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, took Sugarbaker’s expertise to others around the country.
What is the Average Cost for Mesothelioma Treatment?
Mesothelioma treatment can be expensive if you don’t have health insurance or financial resources, and cost is difficult to pinpoint because every diagnosis is unique.
The average cost of lung cancer surgery, which is comparable to mesothelioma surgery, is $39,891. Chemotherapy costs vary depending on the type of cancer, the drugs used and patient-specific factors, but can reach as high as $30,000 over an eight-week period.
Radiation therapy is estimated to cost about $2,000 per month, but the total expense depends on your health coverage and the number of treatments you receive.
If you can’t afford to travel to a specialist, ask for assistance. Some facilities offer travel grants that include temporary housing. Some centers have resources to help with expenses. Others are willing to work with your local oncologist to come up with a treatment plan that best fits your needs.
Financial assistance expert Joe Lahav knows the intricacies of how to secure financial help for treatment, travel and other related expenses.
How to Mesothelioma Treatment
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