Mesothelioma and the Medical Community: Advances in Treatment and Research

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen, and heart. Despite being relatively unknown to the general public, it has a significant impact on the medical community. This is due to its association with asbestos exposure and the challenges in treating and managing the disease.

This article will delve into the history of mesothelioma treatment and the current options available. We will also explore the advances made in research and the challenges and limitations that remain.

Let’s dive in!

History of mesothelioma treatment

The first recorded case of mesothelioma dates back to the 1930s. However, it wasn’t until the 1960s that the link between asbestos exposure and the disease was established.

Since then, the medical community has been working to improve treatment options and outcomes for mesothelioma patients.

Early attempts at treatment included surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. However, these approaches often had limited success and significant side effects.

Current mesothelioma treatment options

In recent years, there have been significant developments and improvements in mesothelioma treatment. Surgery, in particular, has evolved to include more specialized procedures such as extrapleural pneumonectomy and pleurectomy with decortication.

These surgeries aim to remove as much of the cancerous tissue as possible especially for patients in the later stages of mesothelioma prognosis. However, they are highly invasive and carry a risk of complications.

Chemotherapy is another mainstay of mesothelioma treatment. Cisplatin and pemetrexed are the most commonly used chemotherapy drugs for mesothelioma. However, they can cause severe side effects and may not be suitable for all patients.

Radiation therapy, which uses high-energy beams to kill cancer cells, is also sometimes used to treat mesothelioma. There are two main types of radiation therapy: external beam and brachytherapy.

External beam radiation is delivered from a machine outside the body, while brachytherapy involves the insertion of radioactive seeds directly into the tumor.

Both approaches can be effective in reducing tumor size and relieving symptoms, but they also carry the risk of side effects such as fatigue and skin irritation.

Immunotherapy, which harnesses the power of the immune system to attack cancer cells, is a newer addition to the mesothelioma treatment arsenal.

Keytruda and Opdivo are two immunotherapy drugs that have shown promise in the treatment of mesothelioma. While these drugs can be effective in some patients, they are not a cure-all and may not work for everyone.

Another promising area of research for mesothelioma is clinical trials. These trials test new and experimental treatments that are not yet widely available.

Many mesothelioma patients choose to participate in clinical trials hoping to access cutting-edge treatments and contributing to the advancement of medical knowledge.

Some of the treatments being studied in mesothelioma clinical trials include gene therapy, targeted therapies, and immunotherapies.

Advances in mesothelioma research

In addition to advances in treatment, there have also been significant developments in mesothelioma research. Scientists have made progress in understanding the causes and risk factors for mesothelioma, including the role of asbestos exposure.

There have also been efforts to improve early detection and diagnosis of the disease, which can be challenging due to its rarity and the fact that symptoms may not appear until decades after exposure to asbestos.

Challenges and limitations

Despite the advances made in mesothelioma treatment and research, there are still challenges and limitations that need to be addressed. One of those is the short lifespan of mesothelioma patients.

The average survival time for someone with mesothelioma is just 12-21 months after diagnosis. This puts pressure on the medical community to find effective treatment options as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, clinical trials and other experimental treatments often take years to complete which means most never get results.

Another challenge is the limited success rates of current mesothelioma treatments. Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation can all be effective in some cases. However, they are not a cure for mesothelioma and may not work for everyone.

Even when treatment is successful, mesothelioma tends to recur, requiring ongoing management and care.

Finally, there is a need for more funding and resources for mesothelioma research. Despite the significant impact of the disease, mesothelioma receives a relatively small amount of funding compared to other forms of cancer. This can make it difficult for researchers to pursue new and innovative approaches to treatment and prevention.


Mesothelioma continues to be a serious and complex disease that poses great challenges for the medical community. However, there have been tremendous advances in treatment and research in recent years which provide hope for those with the diagnosis.

Through continued education, collaboration between industries and health professionals, new treatments being developed, and support of patients living with this condition, it’s possible those affected can now lead longer lives with improved outcomes.

Hopefully, with further advancements, one day soon scientists will have a comprehensive understanding of how to effectively treat mesothelioma so that it can be eradicated from the world forever.