ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Treatment Options for Mesothelioma

Updated on January 4, 2012

A classic roof made in asbestos

asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma, niente0,
asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma, niente0,

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that typically affects people with a history of exposure to asbestos. The disease develops in themesotelium, a protective lining that covers important internal organs such as the pleura, peritoneum and pericardium. The most common form of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelium affecting the lung's pleura and therefore causing cancer in the lung.

Asbestos was an industrial product that was widely used in the 20th century, however, only lately it was discovered how dangerous inhaling its fibers may be. People most commonly diagnosed with mesothelioma are therefore industrial workers who were routinely exposed to asbestos, however, there have been cases where the family of such workers were affected as well, since the fibers were easily carried from work to home.

Many World Trade Center rescuers after 9/11 may have been exposed to asbestos from the building's debris. According to, an estimated 100,000 people may have suffered serious exposure including 4,000 first responders, 80,000 tower workers and 30,000 Lower Manhattan residents. The first 9/11 victim, EMT Deborah Reeve died of mesothelioma in early 2006.

What makes this disease quite challenging to treat is that the symptoms mostly occur when the disease is already in its late stages and the disease itself manifests many years after the exposure to asbestos. While there is really no treatment for this serious disease, there are however many ways to manage it and improve the over all quality of life.

Treatment Options for Mesothelioma


Good candidates for surgery are those who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma in its earliest stages. Unfortunately, most cases are diagnosed when it is too late, and the cancer has spread causing the disease to reach its late stages (stage three and four). In order to be curative, the surgery would have to take place during stage one or two.


Chemotherapy takes place when a patient is injected with intravenous drugs that combat cancer cells that are rapidly dividing and multiplying. However, the biggest disadvantage is that these drugs also kill many of the healthy cells as well, creating many unwanted side effects. At this time, there are more promising chemotherapy drugs to fight mesothelioma than in the past.


Radiation therapy just as chemotherapy aims to kill cancer cells and prevent the cancer from spreading, however in this case beams of radiation are used instead of drugs. The traditional form of radiation used to fight mesothelioma is external beam radiation therapy, however, another form of radiation therapy known as brachytherapy, which provides concentrated doses of radiation with limited tissue damage, is gaining popularity.

Alternative Options

There are also options for those looking for alternatives to the most traditional treatments. Photodynamic therapy may benefit those with localized cancer. This form of therapy involves the use of light energy to kill the malignant cells. Gene therapy on the other hand, uses genetic material to make cancer cells more vulnerable so to benefit better from chemotherapy. There are also many clinical trials open to patients affected with mesothelioma. Such trials play a very big role in the effort put in finding a cure for this devastating disease.

But what are the Symptoms of Mesothelioma?

While Mesothelioma may take many years to cause symptoms to arise (often 20 to 50 years), once there, most affected patients will be able to recognize them. However, more often than not, serious symptoms tend to arrive when the disease has already reached its late stages. Following are some symptoms of mesothelioma.

Symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry cough
  • Coughing up blood
  • Difficulty Swallowing
  • Night sweats
  • Lower back pain
  • Persistent Cough
  • Fever
  • Weight Loss
  • Fatigue

Most of the above symptoms derive as a result of the thickening of the pleural membrane and the build up of fluid, which together affect the overall respiratory function. People who have (but even who have not) a history of being exposed to asbestos and develop such symptoms should see a doctor right away.


The following information is for educational purposes and should not be used as a replacement for medical advice. People exposed to asbestos or exhibiting symptoms of mesothelioma should seek out immediate medical advice.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 

      8 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      Great article, I hope it alerts those folks out there that have be exposed. Bless them...


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)