Mesothelioma Chemotherapy

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Mesothelioma Chemotherapy Chemotherapy is the use of drugs for treating cancer. The drugs can be swallowed in pill form or they can be injected by a needle into a vein or muscle. Chemotherapy is systemic therapy. This means that the drug enters the bloodstream and circulates throughout the body (through the whole system) to reach and destroy the cancer cells.
In treating mesothelioma, these drugs may also be given intrapleurally (directly into the chest cavity), or intraperitoneally (into the abdominal cavity). Depending on the type and stage of mesothelioma, chemotherapy may be given as the primary (main) treatment or as an adjuvant (addition) to surgery.

Several anticancer drugs have been used to treat mesothelioma. The drug most effective when given alone is doxorubicin (Adriamycin). Other drugs that may be given alone include cisplatin and methotrexate. These anticancer drugs are often given in combination to try to increase their effectiveness. Combinations of drugs used in the treatment of mesothelioma include methotrexate and vincristine. Cisplatin, Alimta®, Gemcitabine (Gemzar), Navelbine (Vinorelbine), Carboplatin and Onconase (Ranpirnase) are also effective chemotherapy drugs. Other drugs such as paclitaxel and irinotecan are currently being studied to determine their effectiveness in treating mesothelioma.

Chemotherapy drugs kill cancer cells but also damage some normal cells. Therefore, careful attention must be given to avoiding or minimizing side effects, which depend on the specific drugs, the amount taken, and the length of treatment. Temporary side effects might include nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, loss of hair, and mouth sores. Because chemotherapy can damage the blood-producing cells of the bone marrow, patients may have low blood cell counts. This can result in an increased risk of infection (due to a shortage of white blood cells), bleeding or bruising after minor cuts or injuries (due to a shortage of blood platelets), and fatigue or shortness of breath (due to low red blood cell counts).

Most side effects disappear once treatment is stopped. There are remedies for many of the temporary side effects of chemotherapy. For example, antiemetic drugs can be given to prevent or reduce nausea and vomiting. If you experience any side effects, be sure to talk with your doctor.

Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy is a complementary therapy that can help asbestos cancer patients recover from surgery or the side effects of mesothelioma chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

American Cancer Society - Detailed Guide: Malignant Mesothelioma - Chemotherapy



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