Pleural Mesothelioma Chemotherapy Treatment Actions


Chemotherapy agents in the treatment of mesothelioma can act in two principal ways:
  • Disrupting cell reproduction (cell division)
  • Physically destroying cancer cells
The process of cell reproduction is complicated and has several different and distinct stages. This first mesothelioma treatment approach uses chemotherapies that act at several different times during cell replication process.

No matter how it's done, when a cancer cell is blocked from replicating itself, the tumor stops growing. Unfortunately, many of these agents will have that effect on ANY fast replicating cell. Since we can’t protect our healthy fast replicating cells, sperm, white and red blood cells, we often get side effects such as low blood counts that may interfere with treatment if unresolved.

Prior to initiating pleural mesothelioma treatment, referrals to fertility specialists are suggested for those in their reproductive years. Not all chemotherapy renders a patient infertile and drug selection can be discussed in those who wish to preserve fertility. Consultation with a cancer geneticist is recommended to guide patients as they make these difficult decisions. We are now observing extended survivals and younger patients are presenting with mesothelioma so preservation of fertility has become an area of concern.

Recently, research scientists have discovered ways to begin producing chemical agents that only target specific types of cells. In some cases it has been possible to target specific subgroups of cancer cells, known to replicate themselves by using a specific receptor. One day soon, we hope to have unique chemical poisons for each type of tumor. Then we can spare the regular cells from the side effects of the mesothelioma treatment. Such targeted chemotherapies are not yet in standard clinical use but are being investigated in clinical trials.

Talk to a mesothelioma expert for more specific, specialized information on pleural mesothelioma treatments.

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