Chemo for Mesothelioma: A Comprehensive Guide :

Hello and welcome to our comprehensive guide on chemo for mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that occurs in the thin layer of tissue that covers most of our internal organs, and is typically caused by exposure to asbestos. When someone is diagnosed with mesothelioma, one of the treatment options available is chemotherapy. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about chemotherapy for mesothelioma, from what it is and how it works, to its potential side effects and FAQ’s.

What is chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing. These drugs are usually given intravenously (through a vein) or orally (by mouth), and can be administered in various forms, such as pills, capsules, and injections. The drugs used in chemotherapy target rapidly dividing cells, which cancer cells are known to do. However, chemotherapy can also affect healthy cells that divide rapidly, such as those that line the stomach or intestines, which can cause side effects.

How does chemotherapy work for mesothelioma?

Chemotherapy is often used in combination with other treatments, such as surgery and radiation therapy, to treat mesothelioma. The goal of chemotherapy is to kill cancer cells and prevent them from growing, shrinking tumors, or slowing the growth of the cancer. As mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer, chemotherapy can be a crucial part of the treatment plan.

The chemotherapy drugs used to treat mesothelioma are different than those used for other types of cancer, due to the unique characteristics of mesothelioma cells. There are several types of chemotherapy drugs that may be used for mesothelioma, including:

Drug Name Type of Drug How it’s Given
Alimta (pemetrexed) Antifolate IV infusion
Platinol (cisplatin) Platinum-containing compound IV infusion
Navelbine (vinorelbine) Vinca alkaloid IV infusion or injection
Onconase (ranpirnase) Ribonuclease IV infusion

Side effects of chemotherapy for mesothelioma

Like any cancer treatment, chemotherapy has potential side effects, some of which can be severe. The side effects of chemotherapy can vary depending on the specific drugs used and the individual receiving treatment. Some common side effects of chemotherapy for mesothelioma include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Mouth sores
  • Low blood cell counts
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Peripheral neuropathy (numbness or tingling in hands and feet)

It’s important to talk to your doctor about the potential side effects of chemotherapy before starting treatment.

Frequently asked questions about chemotherapy for mesothelioma

Q: What is the success rate of chemotherapy for mesothelioma?

A: Success rates for chemotherapy can vary depending on the individual, the stage of the cancer, and the specific drugs used. However, studies have shown that chemotherapy can help improve survival rates for mesothelioma patients.

Q: How long does chemotherapy treatment last?

A: The duration of chemotherapy for mesothelioma can vary depending on the individual and the specific drugs used. Treatment may last several weeks or months, and may involve one or more cycles of treatment.

Q: Will I lose my hair during chemotherapy for mesothelioma?

A: Hair loss is a potential side effect of chemotherapy, but not all patients experience it. If hair loss does occur, it is usually temporary and hair will grow back after treatment is complete.

Q: Can I undergo chemotherapy if I’ve already had surgery for mesothelioma?

A: Yes, chemotherapy can be used in combination with other treatments, such as surgery and radiation therapy, to treat mesothelioma. Your doctor will determine the best treatment plan for your individual case.

Q: What can I do to manage side effects during chemotherapy?

A: There are several things you can do to manage side effects during chemotherapy, such as eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated, and taking medications as prescribed by your doctor. It’s important to communicate any side effects you experience with your doctor, as they may be able to adjust your treatment plan to minimize them.


Chemotherapy is a valuable treatment option for mesothelioma patients, and can help improve survival rates and quality of life. While chemotherapy does have potential side effects, these can often be managed with the help of your doctor. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, be sure to discuss all treatment options with your doctor to determine the best plan for your individual case.

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