Team of British Researchers Question the Benefit of Mesothelioma Surgery

July 24, 2013  |  Mesothelioma

There is still a lot left to understand when it comes to the best way to treat mesothelioma. Although there have been great advances over the past decade in mesothelioma research, the asbestos cancer still remains one of the most difficult diseases to treat. Researchers are constantly exploring new types of therapies and evaluating existing ones to determine how to best combat the fatal disease. Recently, a new opinion from a team of doctors in the United Kingdom claims that the extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) surgery, a popular but extreme surgical procedure used to treat mesothelioma, may not be the best choice for some mesothelioma patients.

In a recent issue of Thorax, an international journal of respiratory medicine, the team of doctors in the U.K. stated that mesothelioma patients would be better served by exploring clinical trials than opting for an EPP. The surgery is prevalently used in the United States, but the U.K. doctors state that the research supporting the benefits of the EPP is flawed.

An EPP is when a patient with malignant pleural mesothelioma undergoes a complete lung removal, removal of the pleural lining and certain parts of the diaphragm. Only patients who are considered healthy enough are candidates for an EPP. The surgery is the most aggressive form of treatment, but is still often considered the best option for patients with mesothelioma.

There is debate among the mesothelioma research community on whether surgeons should continue practicing EPP surgeries. Several studies show that a patient who undergoes the surgery can experience significantly longer survival times, but there other reports suggest that it does little to extend the patient’s life.

According to Dr. Tom Treasure, thoracic surgeon and researcher at the University College London, only the healthiest patients in the earliest stages of the disease are eligible for EPP. He contends that these patients would have lived three to five years, regardless of the surgery.

Dr. Treasure and his fellow researchers argue that patients would fair better by exploring clinical trials and avoid the extreme surgery all together. Still, other researchers believe that the surgery is a viable treatment option for many who suffer from the aggressive cancer.

If you or someone you know is suffering from mesothelioma, speak with your doctor about what treatment options are best for you. Clinical trials can often offer treatments that may not be available from your regular doctor. You can visit www.clinicaltrials.gov for a complete list of mesothelioma trials happening in the United States.

The mesothelioma law firm of Baron and Budd has been representing the interests of mesothelioma patients for over 35 years. The firm knows the difficult choices that come with asbestos disease and strives to provide its clients with as many up-to-date resources as possible.

For more information on Baron and Budd, visit here.

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