Mesothelioma Attorneys

Radiation Therapy to Treat Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma Attorney

Radiation therapy is used to kill cancer cells and stop or slow the growth of cancer. In mesothelioma patients it is often used for palliative care, to treat the symptoms rather than to cure the cancer. Radiation may be used alone or in combination with chemotherapy and/or surgery. Radiation therapy can have serious side effects, but they are typically not as severe as the side effects of chemotherapy.

External Beam Radiation Therapy

External beam radiation is the most common and well-known type of radiation treatment. A beam of radiation is aimed at the tumors from outside of your body. The radiation kills the cancer cells. It limits the growth and spread of the cancer, but typically will not kill all of the cancer cells. Surrounding, healthy cells may be damaged and killed in the process leading to side effects including pain near the treatments site, skin irritation, and digestive problems.


In brachytherapy the source of radiation is placed inside of the body. Radioactive rods or seeds are surgically implanted inside of the tumors so they can kill off the cancer cells with less impact on the surrounding, healthy cells. The implants may be temporary or permanent. They give off radiation anywhere from three months to a year.

Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy

Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is a very targeted non-surgical form of radiation treatment. A computer uses x-rays and other imaging to precisely plan where the radiation will be delivered. The treatment is very targeted and precise, so there is a reduced chance of damage to the surrounding tissue. This makes radiation therapy possible near vital organs and in areas where a less precise method cannot safely be performed.

Radiation Therapy Uses in Mesothelioma

Radiation therapy may be used alone for palliative care in patients who are not good candidates for surgery and cannot tolerate chemotherapy. As a palliative measure it can help relieve pain, pressure, and difficulty breathing. It is also used to help control the spread of mesothelioma that can be caused by invasive medical procedures which leave tracks through the body for the cancer to follow.

As a curative treatment, radiation is used in combination with surgery and/or chemotherapy. It is often used after surgery to clean up residual cancer cells that were not removed during the operation.