To Treat Mesothelioma or Not?

OncoLink Team
The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: May 7, 2013

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Question

My grandmother was diagnosed 2 weeks ago with mesothelioma, she's had liquid drained from her lung, and they had to unclog an artery. The doctor ruled out the surgery and chemotherapy because he says it will only make it worse, so she is on depression medication and painkillers. Should we just follow his advice and let her live on with this without chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgery?

Answer

Dan Sterman, MD, Interventional Pulmonologist at Penn Medicine, responds:

Our recommendation is that all patients newly diagnosed with mesothelioma should be referred to a Center of Excellence of Mesothelioma treatment and research for formal evaluation for standard and experimental treatments, including clinical trials, prior to the determination that an individual is not a candidate for any treatment. The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation can help you identify an expert.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire Focus on Mesothelioma transcript.