Planning treatment


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Your specialist works with a multidisciplinary team (MDT) to recommend treatment options for you. The specialist will explain these to you, and together you will agree on a treatment plan.

It is a good idea to take someone with you to appointments to support you and help you remember what is discussed.

It is OK to ask if your specialist is part of a MDT. Our Canrefer website has information about MDTs in NSW. 

What you need to know

Mesothelioma treatment options

Most people with mesotheliomas are diagnosed at an advanced stage, and treatment is used to extend life, manage symptoms, and control the cancer rather than cure it. This is known as palliative treatment.

There are a small number of people with early disease who may be suitable for more radical treatment.

The best treatment for your mesothelioma depends on several things:

  • where the mesothelioma is located
  • the type of cells and the extent of the mesothelioma
  • your general health
  • the support you have at home
  • your own choices and preferences.

Your specialist will explain the options to you.

Types of mesothelioma treatment

There are several types of treatment for mesothelioma. These can be used to control the growth of advanced mesothelioma or as part radical treatment for early stage mesothelioma.

People may have one or more of these treatments, but not all types of treatment are suitable for everyone with mesothelioma.

Types of treatment include:

  • surgery
  • radiation therapy (radiotherapy)
  • chemotherapy
  • targeted therapy (may be available through clinical trials)
  • immunotherapy (may be available through clinical trials).

Some people take part in clinical trials testing newer treatments.

Most people also receive palliative care from a specialised team to help manage symptoms and improve their quality of life. 

What to ask or talk about

Understanding your treatment options

Your specialist should explain:

  • what they think is the best treatment for you
  • how helpful they expect it to be
  • where you can have your treatment
  • any side effects you may get
  • whether there is a clinical trial you could take part in
  • any costs involved with treatment.

This will help you to make an informed decision about what treatment to have.

Making treatment decisions

Some key points to remember when making treatment decisions:

  • Make sure you have all the information you need to make your decision, including what costs will be involved.
  • Ask the specialist to explain more clearly if you don’t understand the choices.
  • Don’t be rushed into decisions.
  • Take time to think about your choices and discuss them with your doctors and your family or friends.
  • If you are not happy with the choices you are offered, you can ask to see another specialist for a second opinion.​

checklist Checklists

Use our checklists to find helpful tips or questions to ask.

Next steps

Treatment plan

Once you and your specialist have agreed on your treatment, a treatment plan will be made. 

The treatment plan gives details of:

  • the different treatments you will have
  • the order you will have them in
  • where you will have each treatment
  • what each treatment will involve
  • how long the treatment will take. 

Starting treatment

Before you start treatment, make sure you know:

  • the date and time of your first treatment
  • where you need to go
  • if you need any tests beforehand
  • whether there is anything you should do to prepare
  • when you next need to see your specialist.

Where to get help

There are people you can talk to for more information or support.

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