Mesothelioma Treatment Updates

December 13, 2015 Dave K

New Report Demonstrates Need for Earlier Diagnosis of Mesothelioma

Lung X Ray

According to Surviving Mesothelioma, a recently published report emphasizes the importance of diagnosing mesothelioma as early as possible. The report features the case of a 70-year-old Japanese truck driver who died of mesothelioma without ever being diagnosed with the disease or receiving necessary treatment. (1)

Although the Japanese man complained of “one-sided chest pain—a common mesothelioma symptom . . . seven months before he died,” doctors were unable to diagnose the man’s malignant pleural mesothelioma. For details, as well as information about mesothelioma symptoms and its diagnosis, read “The Challenge of Diagnosing Malignant Mesothelioma” at

Studies Suggest New Protocol Offers Hope for Peritoneal Mesothelioma Patients

Three recent studies suggest there is hope for treating patients with peritoneal mesothelioma. The method, developed by Paul Sugarbaker, combines HIPEC, Heated Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy, with cytoreduction surgery. (2)

First, surgeons remove as much of the peritoneal mesothelioma tumor as possible. Second, they rinse the area thoroughly with heated chemotherapy drugs. Ideally, any cancer cells that could not be removed surgically will be killed and prevented from growing back. For details, visit

Surgery as a Second-Line Mesothelioma Treatment May Improve Patients’ Odds

According to Surviving Mesothelioma, researchers believe mesothelioma patients who have surgery a second time around after their pleural mesothelioma recurs may face better odds of survival than patients who undergo “other types of second-line treatments.” For details and more information on mesothelioma recurrence and treatments, visit

New Medication May Aid Victims of Mesothelioma

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Keytruda, a new drug intended to treat mesothelioma, lung cancer, and melanoma. Because patients diagnosed with mesothelioma have limited treatment options, this news is significant. For details visit

Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of lung cancer associated with asbestos exposure. Usually, individuals who have developed the disease experienced prolonged exposure. Until the 1980s, asbestos was widely used in a variety of products, and those working in or around the microscopic fibers breathed in the harmful particles on a regular basis. (3)

When inhaled, asbestos particles accumulate, causing damage over time. Construction workers, carpenters, and shipyard workers have been particularly at risk for developing the disease because of exposure in the workplace. (4)

European Medicines Agency’s Committee Gives Positive Opinion of Cancer Immunotherapy Avelumab

The European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products has provided a positive opinion for orphan drug designation for avelumab, a form of cancer immunotherapy. This therapy is intended to treat Merkel cell carcinoma, an aggressive and rare form of skin cancer. (5)

European Medicines Agency’s Committee Recommends Pemetrexed for Marketing to Treat Mesothelioma

The European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use recommended 10 medicines for marketing approval. One medication, Pemetrexed Accord (pemetrexed), is intended to treat “unresectable malignant pleural mesothelioma and locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer.” For more information, visit

What to Do When Diagnosed with Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer that originates in the lining of the lungs, often takes decades to reveal itself. Once the disease is diagnosed, most patients live only a few months.

What you can do:

  • Get a second opinion. Decide which treatment options seem best for your circumstances.
  • Consult a lawyer specializing in mesothelioma cases.
  • Consider both conventional and alternative mesothelioma cancer treatments.
  • Quit smoking, if you do, and make healthy changes to your diet and lifestyle. Exercising regularly and eating a vegan diet may help you fight the disease.
  • Become informed about the disease and its treatment options, and try to remain positive.

Mesothelioma Conferences for 2016

The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation has published its 2016 dates for its International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma. For more information, visit
Houston, Texas: May 20, 2016
San Francisco, California: September 16, 2016
Chicago, Illinois: October 7, 2016

NovoCure Limited Is Striving to Develop a Therapy for Solid Tumor Cancers

NovoCure Limited (NASDAQ:NVCR), a commercial-stage oncology company, is working toward developing Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields), a therapy designed to treat solid tumor cancers. The company offers “Optune, a TTFields delivery system for use as a monotherapy treatment and NovoTTF-100L for NSCLC.”.

Debate Continues on Which Types of Mesothelioma Surgery Are Most Effective

According to some experts in mesothelioma treatment, patients are most likely to improve their odds of survival if they undergo a pleurectomy and decortication (PD). Others insist the radical surgery called extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) is most effective. The debate has gone on for years. (6)

Pleurectomy and Decortication

A PD, or pleurectomy and decortication, involves removing the diseased pleural lining around the lungs, all or part of the diaphragm, the membrane that surrounds the heart, and other at-risk tissues. An EPP, or extrapleural pneumonectomy, is similar but also involves removing the lung that is closest to the mesothelioma tumor. (7)

Researchers Find Two-Tiered Approach to Treating Mesothelioma Promising

Canadian researchers have found what they believe may be an encouraging new approach to treating mesothelioma. The method combines two types of therapies for treating malignant pleural mesothelioma: radiation and surgery. For more information about the study and new approaches to treating malignant mesothelioma, read “New Mesothelioma Treatment Approach Improving Survival” at