If a patient’s health is too fragile for surgery or chemotherapy, radiation is often recommended. Radiation is associated with the fewest side effects and is typically more to tolerable than chemotherapy for mesothelioma treatment. There are a few different methodologies of radiation therapy available to mesothelioma patients. Radiation is often used in conjunction with another type of treatment such as an in complementary capacity to an existing chemotherapy regimen.
External beam radiation – the preferred type to treat mesothelioma, this type of radiation comes from a machine outside the body and is aimed toward affected areas. Usually administered 5-days-a-week for up to 5 weeks, this type of radiation is often used for palliative purposes – to lessen breathing difficulties, pain, bleeding, or difficulty swallowing – but has seldom shown true efficacy as a curative mesothelioma treatment. This type of radiation may also be used in addition to surgery.
Brachytherapy – Rarely prescribed for mesothelioma, this kind of radiation places radioactive material directly inside the lung or abdomen.