Mesothelioma patients who undergo surgery to remove their tumors often have the best outcomes. Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, which leaves patients with a short life expectancy. For patients who are eligible, surgery can extend life expectancy and alleviate painful symptoms, and research shows that a second procedure may have even more benefits for certain mesothelioma patients.
Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center reviewed 30 years of data from peritoneal malignancy patients to examine the long-term effects of surgical intervention. The 1,547 patients in the study were all treated for abdominal cancer with a combination of cytoreductive surgery and heated chemotherapy between 1991 and 2021. Cytoreductive surgery is an aggressive but effective procedure that involves excising all visible tumors in the abdomen, usually along with some surrounding tissue, which can include parts of the gallbladder, spleen, liver, pancreas, or large or small intestine. At the end of the procedure, patients underwent hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), a form of chemotherapy introduced directly into the surgical area to kill any remaining cancerous cells.
There were 156 patients in the study who received this combination treatment twice, including 17 patients suffering from peritoneal mesothelioma. The results showed a stark difference in survival rates: patients who received the procedure a second time after a recurrence had a median survival rate of 10.7 years, a substantial increase from the 2.5-year average among patients who received the treatment only once. Peritoneal mesothelioma patients who received the second procedure survived an average of 67.7 months, fairing significantly better than their counterparts who received only one procedure, whose survival rate was less than half as long.
The study shows that the combination of cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC is highly effective in first-time patients, but also those experiencing a recurrence. The procedure can even be repeated more than twice if necessary: there were 17 patients in the study who received the treatment three times, and one who received a fourth round. Researchers found that there was not a significant increase in complications with the second procedure, either in the full group or in those being treated for peritoneal mesothelioma.
Who Is Eligible for Surgery?
Whether the patient can receive the procedure at all depends on a number of factors, however. Many patients do not receive a diagnosis in time to be eligible for surgery; once the tumors have spread to disparate areas, they cannot be removed surgically. Age is a consideration when deciding whether a patient can undergo surgery.
Where they get treated matters as well, as many oncologists will default to standard chemotherapy as a first-line treatment. Because mesothelioma is so rare, there are fewer experts in mesothelioma compared to other forms of cancer. Seeking treatment at a cancer center that specializes in mesothelioma can make a significant difference in a patient’s experience. This is important for patients suffering from all forms of mesothelioma.
Philadelphia Mesothelioma Lawyers at Shein Law Help Mesothelioma Patients Explore Legal Avenues
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, speak with one of our Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyers at Shein Law for legal assistance. With offices located in Pennsauken, New Jersey and Philadelphia, we help mesothelioma patients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Call 877-743-4652 or complete our online form to schedule an initial consultation.