Mesothelioma

Treatment

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) offers comprehensive mesothelioma care, including advanced treatments and new options available only through clinical studies. 

A diagnosis of cancer can feel overwhelming. SCCA has an experienced, compassionate team ready to help. 

Mesothelioma expertise at SCCA

Everything you need is here

We have expert surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and pathologists; the most advanced diagnostic, treatment and recovery programs; and extensive support. Along with your cancer doctors, your team includes other SCCA experts who specialize in treating people with cancer — like palliative care professionals, social workers, physical therapists and dietitians.

Innovative mesothelioma therapies

SCCA offers clinical studies that may be appropriate for your type of mesothelioma. Patients who participate in clinical studies have the first chance to benefit from treatments that have shown promise in earlier research. 

Mesothelioma treatment tailored to you

We view mesothelioma treatment as a collaborative effort. Your SCCA team will explain all your options and recommend a treatment plan based on the stage and effects of your cancer as well as your overall health and preferences. 

Team-based approach

National cancer care guidelines recommend that people with malignant mesothelioma receive treatment from a multidisciplinary team experienced with this disease. At SCCA, we provide this type of team-based care, and we have more experience than any other treatment center in the region.

Learn More About Supportive Care Services

Ongoing care and support

Throughout your treatment, your team provides follow-up care on a schedule tailored to you. We’re here to support you and your family and to connect you with resources inside and outside SCCA.

Treatment types

Treatment looks different for different people depending on your diagnosis. We tailor your treatment plan to you. Learn more about the treatment types offered at SCCA. 

Surgery

Surgical procedures for pleural mesothelioma include:

  • Removing the lining inside your chest and over your lung (pleurectomy/decortication) on the side of your cancer. Sometimes surgeons also need to remove and reconstruct the lining around the heart, diaphragm (breathing muscle below your lungs) or both. Typically people who have this surgery also have other forms of treatment, like chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
  • Removing your entire lung with the lining inside your chest wall, the diaphragm and the lining around the heart on the side of your cancer (extrapleural pneumonectomy). Most people have other treatments, like chemotherapy and radiation therapy, along with this surgery.
  • Making a small incision to place medicine inside your chest through a tube (VATS pleurodesis). This is done to adhere your lung to the inside of your chest wall so fluid cannot build up in your chest and make it hard for you to breathe.
  • Making a small incision to put a tube in the space around your lung (VATS indwelling catheter placement). If fluid inside your chest makes breathing difficult, you can drain the fluid through the tube without having to go to the doctor's office.

Even if your tumor has spread too far to hope to remove it completely with surgery, your team might recommend surgery to relieve your symptoms (palliative surgery).

Surgery

Surgical procedures for pleural mesothelioma.

Radiation

For mesothelioma, radiation therapy may be given externally or internally. 

  • External radiation uses a machine outside your body to aim high-energy beams at your tumor. 
  • Internal radiation, also called brachytherapy, involves inserting radioisotopes (materials that produce radiation) through thin plastic tubes directly into the place where cancer cells are.
Radiation

For mesothelioma, radiation therapy may be given externally or internally. 

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy medicines for mesothelioma are usually given through an intravenous (IV) line so they can travel through your bloodstream.

Recent studies suggest an increasing role for immunotherapy in treating this disease. SCCA has been involved in clinical studies exploring the addition of immunotherapy in mesothelioma treatment.

Your SCCA team will talk with you about the specific medicines we recommend for you, how you’ll receive them, your treatment schedule and what to expect. We’ll also explain how to take the best possible care of yourself during treatment and after, and we’ll connect you with medical and support resources throughout SCCA.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy medicines for mesothelioma are usually given through an intravenous (IV) line so they can travel through your bloodstream.