Radiation Treatment in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma Radiation Therapy (or “radiotherapy”) involves the localized use of high-dose radiation on pleural mesothelioma cancer cells. It works by destroying the cancer cells in the affected area and shrinking tumors. The major benefit of radiation is that the side effects are not as severe as those experienced with chemotherapy.

Sometimes, radiation is used in conjunction with other treatment methods such as tumor removal surgery or chemotherapy. Again, the approach your oncologist chooses will depend on your unique circumstances.

Mesothelioma Radiation therapy is not only used to shrink tumors and kill cancer cells. It is also used for pain management in patients living with mesothelioma. By reducing the size of the tumor, the patient often experiences less pain and less pressure in their lung and chest region.

The treatment is divided into several sessions, usually one session a day for five days with a break on the weekend. This ensures that less damage is done to healthy cells than to cancer cells. The damage to healthy cells is usually temporary, but is the reason that radiotherapy has some unwanted side effects such as fatigue and skin changes.

Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)

Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is an advanced mode of high-precision radiotherapy that uses computer-controlled linear accelerators to deliver precise radiation doses to a malignant tumor or specific areas within the tumor.

IMRT allows higher radiation doses to be focused on the tumor while minimizing the dose to surrounding normal critical structures. Treatment is carefully planned by using 3-D computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance (MRI) images of the patient in conjunction with computerized dose calculations to determine the dose intensity pattern that will best conform to the tumor shape.

Because the ratio of normal tissue dose to tumor dose is reduced to a minimum with the IMRT approach, higher and more effective radiation doses can safely be delivered to tumors with fewer side effects compared with conventional radiotherapy techniques. IMRT also has the potential to reduce treatment toxicity, even when doses are not increased. Due to its complexity, IMRT does require slightly longer daily treatment times and additional planning and safety checks before the patient can start the treatment when compared with conventional radiotherapy.

Of course, you want an honest and qualified assessment of your best options for long-term survival of MPM. Who is qualified to answer your questions?

The Pacific Meso Center:

  1. Mesothelioma
    Can answer all your questions.
  2. Mesothelioma Specialists
    Will make you aware of all your choices.
  3. Mesothelioma Surgeons
    Will help explore your treatment options and assist you in finding the best treatment ‘Team’ for you.