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Mesothelioma Chemotherapy   


Mesothelioma treatment may include different therapies, including chemotherapy. The disease is a rare medical condition affecting about 2,000 new individuals within the United States every year. But the question is what mesothelioma really is? This is a rare form of cancer in which malignant cells develop in the mesothelium, a protective sac that includes the pleura, the lining around the lungs; the pericardium, the lining around the heart; and the peritoneum which is the lining around the abdominal cavity.   


There is no unique treatment for all mesothelioma cases. Different treatments or therapies have been tested and used to help make this rare form of cancer more manageable, and possibly curable. But for now, mesothelioma treatment generally depends on the location, stage, general health and age of the patient, and it often includes cancer chemotherapy.  


Does Chemotherapy Work for Mesothelioma? 


The answer can be yes, the same it can be no; it depends to what you are looking for. In the mesothelioma treatment, chemotherapy is, most of the times, used as palliative treatment to help reduce the symptoms of the disease and possibly the size of the tumor, thus help the patient live longer and better. Certain cancer chemotherapy for mesothelioma now contains cisplatin-antifolate combinations, which has shown to improve responses and prolong survival in mesothelioma patients.  


According to a study conducted by scientists in The Netherlands on 4,731 Dutch patients diagnosed with mesothelioma between 1995 and 2006, we have reasons to be optimist when it comes to chemo in the treatment of this fetal disease. “During the periods 1995-1998 and 2005-2006, the use of chemotherapy to treat mesothelioma jumped from 8% to 36%. At the same time, median survival for chemotherapy-treated patients increased from 10.1 months in earlier years to 13.1 months in more recent years. The researchers summarized their findings by stating that increased chemotherapy use at the national level did improve survival rates of mesothelioma patients. The chance is even higher for patients living a healthy lifestyle.  


Among chemotherapy drugs used in the treatment of mesothelioma include Alimta and Cisplatin. Cisplatin is a platinum-based chemotherapy being marketed as Platinol. In addition to mesothelioma, this drug is also used to treat different types of other cancers, including small cell lung cancer and ovarian cancer, lymphomas and germ cell tumors. Cisplatin works by triggering cellular death of cancerous cells. It is often used in combination with Alimta, which is an antifolate drug that works by blocking the activity of folic acid inside cells interfering with cellular metabolism.