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Radiation Treatment For Mesothelioma

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This article explains the method of radiation in treating mesothelioma cancer

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									                  RADIATION TREATMENT FOR MESOTHELIOMA



Radiation therapy is one of three standard treatments used in mesothelioma cancer patients
and     is   often   used   in   combination     with surgery and/or chemotherapy.      None     of
these mesothelioma treatments—either alone or in combination—can cure the deadly disease,
though doctors are able to use various therapies to help control the cancer and even prolong a
patient’s life.
There are several types of radiation—external, internal, and systemic—and the type and dose
used depend on various factors including the location and extent of the cancer.


External Radiation
External radiation as the name suggests, is delivered by a beam from a machine outside the
body to a targeted location of cells or tumors inside the body. It is used in the treatment of most
cancers, particularly those such as mesothelioma cancer that are difficult to remove or have a
high rate of recurrence.


The radiation may be administered prior to surgery to shrink the tumor (this is called
neoadjuvant therapy) or it can be administered during surgery. In the latter case, a final, high-
dose of radiation is aimed directly at the site of the tumor once all or most of it has been
removed. External radiation may also be given after surgery to help reduce the rate of
recurrence; this is considered a type of adjuvant therapy.
A typical course of mesothelioma radiation treatment lasts three to five weeks, with radiation
administered about five days a week.


Internal Radiation
Internal radiation, or brachytherapy, is less commonly used for mesothelioma treatment. It
involves the placement of radioactive material—usually contained in a small tube, capsule or
seed—into the body near the site of the mesothelioma cancer (in the chest or the abdomen).


Systemic Radiation
In systemic radiation, a radioactive substance is taken orally or via injection and circulated
throughout the body.


Stereotactic Radiosurgery
Stereotactic radiosurgery is primarily used to treat brain tumors, although it may also be used to
treat tumors in the body. It is extremely precise, relying on a focused, high-dose beam of
radiation to eliminate any remaining tumor or cancer cells after surgery but is itself a non-
invasive procedure. Mesothelioma cancer patients interested in stereotactic radiosurgery or
other type of radiation therapy should consult with a physician (or team of physicians) to
determine the best, most effective course of mesothelioma treatment.

								
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