Treating Mesothelioma with Cryotherapy

frozen ice crystals

Being diagnosed with mesothelioma is a devastating moment as a cure remains elusive. New and emerging treatments are introduced in the hope of successfully fighting this deadly form of cancer. In their quest to “crack the code,” researchers and medical professionals are turning to a longtime therapy that shows promise in the ongoing battle.

How Cryotherapy Can Help Mesothelioma Patients

Cryotherapy uses cold fluid or liquid nitrogen/argon gas to freeze tissue and interrupt blood flow to destroy the cells. Those that remain eventually swell and burst as the tissue thaws. The process is repeated until the targeted tumor is gone. The therapy can be used on its own or as part of a more comprehensive treatment strategy

For victims of malignant pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma, cryotherapy is not yet an option for treatment, outside of clinical trials. However, results from that research reveal promising results so far, providing hope for those suffering from the so-far incurable disease.

Thirty-day follow-ups showed no recurrence for all patients participating in the study. Nearly three-fourths of patients were recurrence-free three years after cryotherapy treatments.

The Positives and Negatives

However, cryotherapy is not a “one-size-fits-all” treatment. With any type of medical procedure, there are upsides and downsides. The benefits include cryotherapy being less invasive than surgical methods with faster recovery and fewer side effects. For older patients suffering from inoperable mesothelioma and other underlying conditions, cryotherapy could be a much safer option, particularly for those who cannot tolerate surgical procedures.

The “negatives” are inherent to any new type of medical treatment. Not enough data exists on mesothelioma cryotherapy, and opportunities for treatments are limited. Tumors not visible on imaging scans will not be targeted. Finally, even though it represents a lower-cost option, mesothelioma cryotherapy may not be covered by insurance due to its recent introduction as a treatment option.

Test treatments continue to provide data in what many hope will be a significant step towards more effective treatment of and potential cure for mesothelioma.