New Evidence in the Mesothelioma Surgery Debate

September 5, 2013  |  Mesothelioma

As one of the most difficult cancers to effectively treat, mesothelioma research is continually exploring new methods of treatment while evaluating the efficacy of existing ones.  There has been particular debate among mesothelioma researchers about which type of surgery is best for mesothelioma patients.  In a recent study from Turkey, new results shed light on which surgery may produce the best outcome.

Mesothelioma is a rare and virulent cancer that is found in the lining of the lungs.  The disease is caused by exposure to asbestos, a heat resistant fiber that was used in countless household, industrial and construction products for most of the 20th century and is still limitedly used in the United States today.  The disease can take decades to develop, but spreads quickly once it does. Mesothelioma will often spread to other parts of the body, such as the diaphragm, the surface of the lungs and even sometimes the lung tissue. 

Currently, there are two types of surgeries that mesothelioma patients can elect to undergo.  Extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) is the more extreme option but also offers the best long-term survival results.  The surgery involves the removal of the pleura, diaphragm, lymph nodes and lung closest to the affected area. The other option for patients is a pleurectomy(P/D).  This surgery involves the removal of the pleura and any other affected areas with the exception of the lung. Although the EPP surgery generally boasts an advantage over a P/D, the procedure comes with a high rate of serious complications. Others point out that the P/D doesn’t do enough to remove the cancerous cells from the patient.  But now, there may be a new procedure that offers a compromise between the contrasts of the mesothelioma surgeries. 

A new study out of Turkey suggests that an alternative surgery, radical or extended pleurectomy (E/P), could offer better results than an EPP with less of the severe complications and still preserve the patient’s lung.  The surgery involves removing the pleura, the diaphragm, the lymph nodes and all other diseased tissue.  In a study involving 76 patients with mesothelioma, 31 patients were treated with an EPP, 20 patients had an E/P and 25 underwent a traditional P/D. 

The results showed that the patients who had the new E/P procedure experienced a median survival period of 27 months.  This was substantially longer than the 17 months experienced by those who underwent an EPP and 15 months by those who had a P/D. 

This study represents one of many perspectives regarding mesothelioma surgery options.  The EPP procedure still remains the most popular option for most mesothelioma patients.

The mesothelioma law firm of Baron and Budd is committed to providing mesothelioma patients and their loved ones with the most current and relevant information on mesothelioma care.  The law firm has been representing those affected by asbestos disease for over 35 years and is proud to continue assisting patients, both in and out of the courtroom.

For more information about Baron and Budd, visit here.

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