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The information on this page was reviewed and approved by
Maurie Markman, MD, President, Medicine & Science at CTCA.

This page was updated on September 8, 2021.

Mesothelioma is rare. Our oncologists can help you fight it.

Mesothelioma is cancer that develops in the thin tissue, or mesothelium, that lines the lungs, chest wall and abdomen. The mesothelium helps protect the organs by producing a lubricating fluid that lets them move against one another. Mesotheliomas start in the chest, abdomen, heart or testicles. Most begin in the chest, and are called pleural mesotheliomas.

Age is a risk factor for mesothelioma, with most people developing the disease later in life, but the major risk factor for this type of cancer is asbestos exposure. Researchers are working to learn more about which asbestos fibers cause cancer, how they cause it, and what levels may be considered safe.

Treating mesothelioma tumors is historically difficult, although combinations of certain therapies have shown promise. At Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), we offer a variety of treatment options to fight the disease, and a range of supportive care therapies to help you manage your side effects.

What you should know after a mesothelioma diagnosis

Treatment options

male and female doctor in smocks using endoscope to inspect lungs for cancer

Treatment for mesothelioma generally depends on where the disease started, the size of the tumor and whether it has spread. Your care team will help you determine which treatment option meets your specific diagnosis, needs and personal preferences. Treatment options may include:

Chemotherapy may be used to treat patients with advanced pleural mesothelioma and mesothelioma that cannot be surgically removed. For earlier-stage disease, chemotherapy may be used in combination with surgery and radiation therapy.

Immunotherapy may be used to treat certain types of mesothelioma. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved several types of immunotherapy drugs to treat the disease.

Radiation therapy
Radiation therapy may be used to destroy cancer cells that remain after surgery.

Surgery often depends on the type of mesothelioma and whether the cancer has spread. It may be used to help remove the cancer, or it may be used to lessen symptoms of the disease.

Targeted therapy
The FDA has approved targeted therapy drugs called anti-angiogenesis drugs that stop the production of new blood vessels in an effort to deprive the tumor of oxygen.

Learn more about treatments for mesothelioma

Supportive care

Mesothelioma patients may experience side effects, either from the disease or its treatments. The side effects may include fatigue, skin reactions, nausea and neuropathy. Our supportive care clinicians help you manage these side effects, so you are better able to say on your treatment regimen without interruption and get back to your life. Supportive care therapies for mesothelioma may include:


​Pain management

Pain management is a branch of medicine focused on reducing pain and improving quality of life through an integrative approach to care.


​Nutritional support

Every patient has the option of meeting with a registered dietitian.


​Oncology rehabilitation

​Oncology rehabilitation includes a wide range of therapies designed to help you build strength and endurance.

Todd Hardy

Todd H.

Lung Cancer

"When I first heard the diagnosis, I was scared. There is no way to avoid the worst thoughts and fears when you hear this news. But with the help of my wife and the support of CTCA, I was able to think things through, steady myself for the road ahead, and keep going."


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