For many people with mesothelioma, by the time the disease has been diagnosed, it’s so advanced that surgery to remove tumors isn’t possible. Doctors will look at palliative care to make the patient more comfortable, reduce pain and increase their quality of life. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are regularly used as treatments to help shrink mesothelioma tumors, but occasionally there can be a build-up of fluid which causes the patient pain and makes breathing difficult.
There are four main palliative treatments which are used to rid the excess fluid and help ease the symptoms, according to the American Cancer Society. These are:
This is a fairly simple procedure whereby a long needle is used to remove fluid build up. This is called various names depending on where the fluid is removed from: thoracentesis for pleural (lung) mesothelioma, paracentesis for fluid removed from the abdomen in peritoneal mesothelioma, and pericardiocentesis removes fluid from around the heart for pericardial mesothelioma.
While this procedure does provide relief, the fluid tends to return so repeat procedures are often needed.