Can Mesothelioma Go Into Remission?
Yes. Although it is rare, many malignant mesothelioma patients have achieved long-term remission despite being given a poor health outlook (prognosis) at first.
Remission is a term doctors use to describe how much a patient’s cancer symptoms have decreased or disappeared. Patients with mesothelioma can reach remission when they show no visible signs of cancer, also known as No Evidence of Disease (NED). The ultimate goal for all patients and their health care team is complete remission.
Short-term remission is often possible if the cancer is caught before it spreads through the body. Some patients have achieved long-term remission for 10 years or more. Both malignant pleural mesothelioma and peritoneal mesothelioma patients may be able to reach remission.
What is Mesothelioma Recurrence?
Recurrence occurs when a detectable amount of mesothelioma returns despite treatments that previously sent the patient into full or partial remission. Mesothelioma recurrence can happen months or even years after remission.
Doctors typically treat patients in full or partial remissions as though they have a chronic illness due to the risk of recurrence.
Treating mesothelioma in remission as a chronic disease encourages patients to schedule follow-up appointments and closely monitor their symptoms. This can help treat mesothelioma recurrence if it occurs. Patients who have achieved remission once may be capable of achieving it again.
Get our free Mesothelioma Guide today to get information on remission, mesothelioma diagnosis, treatment options, and more.
There are two types of remission: full and partial. Learn more about the types of remission below.
Full (or complete) remission would mean that all symptoms and signs of cancer in the body are gone. While complete remission in mesothelioma patients is rare, it is possible.
However, it is important to note full mesothelioma remission is not a cure – there is no guarantee the cancer will never return.
Although doctors may no longer be able to detect cancer cells, there may still be some microscopic cells in the body after treatment.
Partial remission describes a significant improvement in the patient’s cancer but not a complete disappearance.
A patient will likely have less symptoms and feel better if they have achieved partial remission through mesothelioma treatment. The doctor will be able to see a significant depletion of the tumors and cancer cells in the patient’s body.
Partial remission may be achieved through treatments to help reduce the presence of cancer in the body, ease symptoms, and potentially increase life expectancy.
Treatments Aiming to Achieve Mesothelioma Remission
Full or partial remission may be achieved through different treatment options. The overall goals of mesothelioma treatments are to reduce the presence of cancer in the body, ease symptoms, and potentially increase life expectancy through remission.
Each patient’s case is unique. Some respond better to certain treatments than others and have greater chances of achieving remission. Sometimes remission is considered spontaneous and treatments do not play a major role.
Registered Nurse Amy Fair discusses standard mesothelioma treatments and how patients can pick the best option. View Transcript.
Duration: 2 min 01 sec
What do I need to know about mesothelioma treatments?
It’s really important for your doctors, your oncologists, your surgeons to explain to you what stage you’re in – to explain to you what type of mesothelioma you have. You have to understand your disease, you have to understand the type of disease, and you have to understand the stage of the disease. Many people have to make decisions as far as quality and quantity of life.
What are my treatment options for mesothelioma?
The standard treatment options for mesothelioma is a surgical approach. In pleural mesothelioma, they will offer the patient a pleural decortication where they strip the lining of the lung. They may offer to the patient a pneumonectomy and that is removing the whole lung, not just the lining. They may offer radiation to shrink the tumor first. Also, radiation gives them palliative care if that tumor is pressing on vital organs or nerves and causing pain, they may want to go in and do radiation first to shrink that tumor. Then of course there is the chemotherapy approach, and again sometimes multiple modalities are used. Surgical approach, radiation, and chemotherapy. It is a clinical individual fit for that particular person.
How can I decide what treatment is best for me?
When deciding what treatment modality is best for you it’s important to communicate with your surgeon, to communicate with your oncologist. You need to get an understanding on their thoughts if you’re a candidate for chemotherapy. Are you a candidate to have surgery? Although all that is very important, the individual decision for what type of therapy lies within the mesothelioma patient.
Learn more about treatment options that may lead to mesothelioma remission below.
Surgery is the best option to achieve mesothelioma remission. During mesothelioma surgery, the surgeon will remove the cancer that lines the organs and may incorporate chemotherapy or radiation therapy to increase the odds of remission.
Patients diagnosed with stage 1 or stage 2 mesothelioma are often eligible for life-extending surgery that could possibly lead to remission.
Some common mesothelioma surgeries include:
- Cytoreduction With HIPEC: Peritoneal mesothelioma surgery to remove the cancerous lining of the abdomen and any surrounding tumors. The area is then covered in heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) to kill remaining cells not removed through surgery.
- Extrapleural Pneumonectomy (EPP): Pleural mesothelioma surgery to remove the cancerous lung and any affected surrounding tissue. This is often combined with chemotherapy to make remission more likely.
- Pleurectomy/Decortication (P/D): Pleural mesothelioma surgery to remove cancerous lung lining and any tumors on the surface of the lung. Surgeons may often combine the P/D with intraoperative radiation to destroy remaining mesothelioma cells.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, your doctor can see which surgery (if any) will be right for you.
Although individual treatment methods can help some patients increase their life expectancy, many mesothelioma specialists will try to achieve more favorable results through multimodal therapy.
Multimodal therapy is the combination of more than one type of treatment and has been found to improve survival rates and quality of life for patients. Doctors will use a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and more to help patients reach remission.
Patients with early-stage mesothelioma are usually the best candidates for this type of aggressive treatment regimen.
A clinical trial is conducted by researchers to test new cancer treatments and improve existing ones to potentially reach mesothelioma remission.
During the early phases of a clinical trial, researchers examine the safety of the new treatments and common side effects will be identified. When medical specialists discover that a new treatment may work without a lot of serious side effects, the clinical trial will continue.
As the trial moves forward , specialists note if the new treatment is more effective than existing ones and see if it should be reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for potential approval as a new standard of care.
Cancer research and testing have found that there are often opportunities to improve effective treatments even further by modifying doses or combining them with other therapies.
Speak with our qualified medical team to learn more about treatment options.
Improving Chances of Mesothelioma Remission
Doctors are learning more about how to treat mesothelioma all the time. Mesothelioma is now considered more treatable and manageable than ever before.
All cancers have a possibility of returning. However, many patients who achieve remission have long outlived their life expectancy and are considered survivors. Doctors hope that with continued research, more mesothelioma patients will live longer and achieve long-term remission.
Besides getting treated, there are several steps you can take to help your body fight cancer and work toward remission. Learn how you can improve your chances of mesothelioma remission below.
Stay In Good Health
While patients cannot change certain factors such as their age or the type of mesothelioma they have, they have the option to improve their overall health by exercising, not smoking, and maintaining a healthy, balanced diet.
Physical activity can ease the side effects of cancer treatment such as pain, stiffness, and fatigue. Even gentle, light activities such as walks and yoga can help patients to sleep better and reduce stress.
See a Mesothelioma Specialist
Mesothelioma is a very rare type of cancer and the only known cause is asbestos exposure. Because of this, it is important to see an oncologist (cancer doctor) that has experience diagnosing and treating this cancer.
Working with a top mesothelioma doctor who can recommend treatments can potentially improve life expectancy and help you reach remission.
Get a Second Opinion
Since mesothelioma is so rare, it can often get misdiagnosed as more common and less severe diseases. It is highly important to get a second opinion if you believe you have been misdiagnosed.
It may also be helpful to get a second opinion on your treatment options. As mesothelioma is a rare cancer, the treatment continuously develops and changes. However, some mesothelioma specialists may prefer to use certain treatments over others depending on your overall diagnosis and health outlook.
Getting a second opinion can ensure you know about every option available to you. If you or a loved one has mesothelioma and is seeking treatment to achieve remission, use our Mesothelioma Specialist Match tool to find a specialist today.
Find Mesothelioma Treatment Today
Although mesothelioma often has a poor prognosis since it’s highly aggressive, patients may be able to improve their life expectancy and reach remission.
Thankfully, there are many treatment options available to mesothelioma patients at world-renowned cancer centers to help them win their battle.
Treatment options such as chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy, and more can help patients achieve partial or full mesothelioma remission and reduce instances of recurrence (cancer reappearing in the body).
To find potentially life-extending treatment from a top mesothelioma specialist, use our Mesothelioma Specialist Match tool today.
Mesothelioma Remission FAQs
Does mesothelioma go into remission?
Yes, in certain cases. Some mesothelioma patients can reach full or partial mesothelioma remission with the help of cancer treatment.
The goal of all mesothelioma treatment plans is to help patients reach NED (No Evidence of Disease) and prevent recurrence of cancer in the body.
Has anyone survived mesothelioma?
Yes. There are many mesothelioma victims that have overcome their disease and have been able to live years beyond their original prognosis.
What is the longest anyone has lived with mesothelioma?
Holocaust survivor Paul Kraus is the world’s longest-living mesothelioma survivor and has been cancer-free for 24 years.
How do you reach mesothelioma remission?
There is no way to guarantee you will reach mesothelioma remission.
If you have been diagnosed with early-stage mesothelioma, your doctor may recommend treatment options such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation to remove as much cancer as possible with the hopes of reaching remission.
You can also work toward mesothelioma remission by exercising more, not smoking, and improving your diet. Even if you can’t reach remission, taking these steps can go a long way to easing your symptoms and/or helping you live longer.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, use our Mesothelioma Specialist Match to find life-extending treatment today.