Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Patients with mesothelioma often have a short life expectancy, which can be improved by aggressive treatment in some cases, such as surgery. A relatively new treatment called staged surgery is showing positive results for patients with mesothelioma.
Most mesothelioma patients suffer from pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the lungs and chest cavity. Mesothelioma can also affect the peritoneum, the lining of the stomach and abdominal cavity. In some cases, tumors can appear in both the pleura and the peritoneum.
For some patients dealing with both pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma, the staged surgical method is an aggressive but effective treatment. Patients undergo one cytoreductive surgery to remove tumors and surrounding tissue from the chest, followed shortly thereafter by a cytoreductive procedure in the abdomen. Having two surgical procedures in close succession is not common, especially mesothelioma surgeries, which typically involve removing large amounts of tissue. The staged surgical approach is accessible at cancer centers specializing in mesothelioma treatment.
One such center at Baylor College of Medicine recently released a study examining the results of staged resection surgery. There were 440 mesothelioma patients treated at Baylor between 2014 and 2021, and 14 of them underwent the two-stage chest and abdominal operations. Out of the 14 patients, eight had the extended pleurectomy decortication (EPD), and six had the extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP). Each patient had a standard peritonectomy and also received hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) as part of the procedure. The median survival rate for the 14 patients was 33.6 months, with 20 percent of patients reaching the five-year survival mark.
The experiences of the 14 patients differed based on which thoracic surgery they received. The goal of the study was to determine if EPP or EPD was more effective.
EPP was once considered revolutionary, but many mesothelioma specialists now favor EPD, which is still aggressive but leaves both lungs intact. The EPD procedure takes less of a toll on the body, patients recover more quickly, and there are fewer complications following this procedure. The Baylor study reveals that EPD benefits staged surgical patients as well, with the eight EPD patients showing a vastly higher median survival rate of 58.2 months after their second surgery. Progression-free survival averaged 26.3 months for EPD patients, compared to 12.9 months for EPP patients. The procedure is a good fit for patients in the earliest stages of the disease, while those whose disease has progressed might only be able to receive EPP.
Not all mesothelioma patients are eligible for surgery. Their tumors must be localized and resectable. Patients in the later stages of the disease whose tumors have spread are unlikely to be eligible. Patients must also be in good overall health to undergo surgery, let alone two procedures. Although mesothelioma is incurable, early diagnosis can be helpful in increasing life expectancy.
Philadelphia Mesothelioma Attorneys at Shein Law Provide Comprehensive Representation for Asbestos Disease Patients
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer, or another type of asbestos disease, speak with our Philadelphia mesothelioma attorneys at Shein Law. Located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve mesothelioma patients and their families throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call 877-743-4652 or contact us online to discuss your case.