Most Common Mesothelioma Treatments: Radiation

Mesothelioma is a deadly and rare cancer caused by asbestos exposure. The three most common treatments for mesothelioma are surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. In part two of this three-part series, radiation treatment for mesothelioma will be reviewed.* Radiation is a treatment or therapy that uses high-energy rays such as X-rays to kill cancer cells. There are generally two types of radiation: external radiation and brachytherapy. External radiation is when a focused beam or ray of radiation is pointed in the area of the tumor from outside the body. Brachytherapy is when radioactive markers are inserted into the body to attack the tumor directly. Mesothelioma treatment typically employs external radiation, which is generally applied five days per week for several weeks in a row. Because radiation treatment harms healthy tissue as well as cancer tissue, radiation is not often the best mesothelioma treatment option. In cases where it might be a potentially good option, it may be used as: ·         A post-operative treatment in conjunction with surgery to kill more of the remaining tumor ·         An aggressive attempt to relieve severe symptoms such as acute pain, trouble breathing, and bleeding There are some severe side effects to radiation including fatigue, lung damage, nausea, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. In the next installment of this three-part blog series, chemotherapy for mesothelioma will be reviewed. *This information is summarizing the American Cancer Society's Cancer Information Database. The information in this blog series is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your cancer care team.
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