Is Mesothelioma chemotherapy the best treatment for a mesothelioma patient?

Cancer cells, 3D illustration

Mesothelioma chemotherapy treatment can be administered to a patient diagnosed with mesothelioma. This type of treatment help in delaying tumor growth and also kill cancerous cells. Chemo drugs go well with the combination of pemetrexed[Alimta ]with cisplatin, this combination is mostly used by mesothelioma doctors to treat mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma chemotherapy treatment is given to a patient for hours for 21 days, though the treatment may not be the best option for everyone diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer but chemo treatment may impact a patient’s survival and, also life expectancy. 

Read on, as we will discuss the effectiveness of chemo treatment if it is the best option and other necessary information related to mesothelioma chemotherapy.

Understanding chemotherapy treatment And how it works. 

A patient’s health plays a vital role in determining if chemo is the best option because not all mesothelioma patients are strong enough to undergo chemo treatment. A mesothelioma expert will determine if you are qualified for this treatment based on your overall health. Before the conclusion of this decision to undergo a chemo treatment, your health provider will also consider if chemotherapy will be used alone or may include other therapies for your treatment.  they will also consider the best chemo drugs that will be good for you, how they will be administered to you, and, how long the treatment will last.

Chemo treatment may be used alone or combined with other therapies to treat a patient with mesothelioma cancer. it is one of the most popular treatments for mesothelioma cancer because it involves many treatment options or combinations of therapies and different administrative methods. 

mesothelioma Chemotherapy treatment is very much effective in cutting down the growth of cancerous cells, either by delaying the cell’s growth or killing them. Chemo treatment is very aggressive, which means that it can kill the cancerous cells and as well destroy the healthy cells in a patient’s body.


 Chemo treatment does not only kill cancerous cells it can also be used in reducing mesothelioma disturbing symptoms like chest pain or shortness of breath from a patient diagnosed with the last stage of mesothelioma cancer.

   Mesothelioma doctors can administer chemo drugs to a patient orally- a pill taken in the mouth with water, injection, or intravenous This method is well known as systemic chemotherapy.  

 other treatments that can be combined with chemo to treat a patient diagnosed with mesothelioma include Surgery, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, or even immunotherapy. 

Note that, chemotherapy does not bring a permanent cure to mesothelioma cancer, instead it can help in shrinking cancerous cells, lessen symptoms, impact life expectancy, and promotes survival.  

Combination of chemotherapy with other mesothelioma treatments;

Since chemotherapy cants not permanently cure mesothelioma, doctors often combine other mesothelioma treatments like surgery, radiation therapy, emerging treatment, etc to treat mesothelioma cancer. this combination is known as multimodal therapy, which influences the patient’s chance of more prolonged survival.  This combo reduces the cancerous cell’s ability to defeat the effectiveness of the treatment administered. Another emerging procedure that can help reduce cancer growth is Tumor Treating fields.

A mesothelioma doctor may at first choose chemotherapy treatment to shrink the tumor before removing the tumor through surgery procedure.

 Note that, HIPEC which is Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy is given to a patient diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma mainly in the abdominal cavity while HITHOC which is also known as Hyperthermic intrathoracic chemotherapy is given to a patient around the chest cavity[thoracic].


Systemic chemotherapy

Systemic chemotherapy treatment passes through the bloodstream which means it will reach every area of the body. a mesothelioma patient can be given this type of treatment in form of an injection, pills, or IV infusions. Once a patient receives this treatment, he or she may experience some side effects.  Research suggests that systemic chemotherapy may cause more side effects than other treatment methods like intracavitary chemotherapy.

Systemic chemotherapy side effects include;

  • Hair loss
  • Skin rashes
  • Body aches
  • Nausea
  • Sore mouth
  • Bleeding and bruises
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Neuropathy
  • Gastrointestinal complications
  • Weak immune system
  • Pains etc.

A patient may experience any of these listed side effects, once you start noticing these side effects quickly report them to your doctor.  Once your doctor confirms your complaints or will either stop treatment, recommend something, or teach you how to manage the side effect.


Intracavitary chemotherapy

This type of chemotherapy treatment is limited to a particular region in the body. This type of drug can be placed only in specific areas where tumors are present and it can be done through surgery by a mesothelioma doctor.

In pleural mesothelioma, a doctor may insert or place these chemo drugs in the pleural cavity. In contrast, in peritoneal mesothelioma, the drugs are placed directly in the peritoneum known as the lining of the abdominal cavity.

in addition, intracavitary chemotherapy is of different types, it is differentiated based on the method of administration and temperature. 

 Types of intracavitary chemotherapy are;

  • HIPEC- Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy [ peritoneal mesothelioma]
  •  HITHOC-  Hyperthermic intrathoracic chemotherapy [ pleural mesothelioma]
  • PIPAC – Pressurized intraperitoneal aerosol chemotherapy
  • EPIC- Early postoperative intraperitoneal  chemotherapy
  • NIPEC- Normothermic intraperitoneal  chemotherapy

Research suggests that some of these intracavitary chemotherapies are heated and non-heated. however,  out of all these types of intracavitary chemotherapy, HIPEC and HITHOC have been proven to be the best in treating mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma chemotherapy Drugs

Mesothelioma chemotherapy drugs can not be complete without mentioning Pemetrexed which is also called Alimta, and cisplatin, this combination has been very effective for many years to date, though medical researchers have tested some other chemo drugs for treating mesothelioma cancer.  Mesothelioma doctors can prescribe specific drugs that will be effective for your type of mesothelioma.  The chemotherapy drugs listed below have unique healing benefits and administration methods.

Chemotherapy drugs and their brand names that can be used by  doctors for the treatment of mesothelioma;

  • Cisplatin [Platinol,Platinol- AQ]
  • Pemetrexed [Alimta]
  • Carboplatin [Paraplatin]
  • Mitomycin- C [Mutamycin]
  • Vinorelbine [Navelbline]
  • Epirubicin [Ellence]
  • Paclitaxel [ Taxol]
  • Doxorubicin [Rubex  and Adriamycin]
  • Gemcitabine [ Gemzar]
  • Oxaliplatin[ Eloxatin]
  • Irinotecan [ Camptothecin]
  • Methotrexate [Rheumatrex,Otrexup,Trexall and Rasuvo]

these chemotherapy drugs listed above can be used to treat mesothelioma, mesothelioma doctor may choose to use one or more chemo drugs at the first line of therapy which is also called the first treatment cycle. Although these drugs mentioned are effective or has potential benefits, it also comes with a disturbing side effect which some mesothelioma patient may notice once it was administered to them. 

Mesothelioma doctors may decide to combine chemotherapy drugs with other mesothelioma treatments in the second-line therapy if the drugs used in the first-line therapy failed or proved ineffective.  

Pemetrexed [Alimta] and Cisplatin are a better combination for treating mesothelioma, other chemotherapy drugs can be combined for mesothelioma treatment such as;

  • Cisplatin and Vinorelbine
  • Cisplatin and mitomycin
  • Pemetrexed and gemcitabine
  • Cisplatin and doxorubicin
  • Pemetrexed and carboplatin
  • Carboplatin and gemcitabine


Alimta is the trade name for pemetrexed, it is a chemotherapy drug that was approved in the United state on the 4th of February in the year 2004 by the Food and drugs administration. Pemetrexed goes well with the combination of cisplatin for pleural mesothelioma treatment.

 This[ Pemetrexed ]chemo drug is administered to patients through IV or injection, this administration method is known as systemic chemotherapy

Pemetrexed [Alimta] Side-effect may include;

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Chest pain
  • Low red blood cell count
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Constipation
  • Low white blood cell count
  • Low red blood cell count
  • Fatigue



is a chemo drug approved by the Food and drugs administration which can as well be used alone or combined with Pemetrexed to treat a patient diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma

 According to research Cisplatin alone can help a patient to survive for 9months, while the use of Cisplatin and Pemetrexed can extend the patient’s survival for about 12 to 15 months which makes it a better combination for the treatment of pleural mesothelioma.

Cisplatin can be administered to a pleural mesothelioma patient through IV or infusion to the intraperitoneal.

Cisplatin Side-effect may include;

  •  Low white blood cell count
  • Nausea
  • Blood test abnormalities
  • Low red cell count
  • Vomiting
  • Kidney toxicity

How long does a chemotherapy drug stay in your system?

Chemotherapy drugs may not stay in your system for a long time, But the side effect can not dissipate early.  Chemo drug’s side effects may subside early for Mr. A and take much time for Mr. B, this means that it varies for each person.

Once you notice any side effects, don’t overlook them or refuse to reach out to your doctor.

Conclusion; If you or a family member has been diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer, seeking quality medical advice or direction from a qualified mesothelioma doctor who is an expert in the type of mesothelioma you or your loved one is diagnosed with is very important.  Your discussion with a mesothelioma expert will reveal if mesothelioma chemotherapy is the best treatment option for you. 

Have it at the back of your mind that the side effect of chemo drugs can be challenging to deal with, it is also important to note that, the main objective of mesothelioma chemotherapy treatment is to help you fight mesothelioma, impact your life expectancy and lessen symptoms discomforts.

Since you have read this last paragraph, I will be leaving you with these powerful words

  • Fight the worries
  • Fight the tears
  • Fight the pain and never get tired.
  • Your survival is possible. 











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