Study Reveals Surgery Still Best Mesothelioma Treatment

doctors performing surgery

A recent study conducted by numerous renowned hospitals and medical organizations confirms that surgery is still the leader in treating mesothelioma.

The study, performed by researchers from North Shore/Long Island Jewish Health System, Hofstra School of Medicine and Mount Sinai Medical Center, included patients already confirmed with malignant mesothelioma. The purpose of the study was to determine which course of treatment works best for mesothelioma patients.

A total of 14,228 mesothelioma patients were studied. They were divided into different groups according to gender, age, stage of cancer, time of diagnosis, and other additional factors. For patients that received no other treatment aside from surgery, survival rates were longer than average.

For patients who underwent radiation therapy along with surgery, survival rates did not extend any longer. The study didn’t provide information on chemotherapy combined with surgery.

As a result of the study, Mount Sinai Medical Center’s Andrea Wolf, MD, MPH, states that surgery still remains the strongest treatment option for mesothelioma patients.

“These data support the role of surgery-based therapy as the cornerstone of treatment for this challenging disease.”

However, even though surgery remains the best possible treatment for mesothelioma, the average prognosis still remains at around 18 months. This may seem discouraging, but with healthy lifestyle changes and a positive outlook, numerous mesothelioma patients have lived years longer than the average survival rate.

The entire study, entitled, “Surgery Improves Survival in 14,228 Patients with Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma,” can be found in the April 2015 edition of the Oncology journal.

Mesothelioma Surgery Qualifications

Not every mesothelioma patient will qualify for surgery. Although unfortunate, patients must meet certain criteria for surgery due to its aggressive and invasiveness. For example, some forms of mesothelioma surgery require the removal of the affected organs in order to eliminate as much cancer as possible. The patient must be in good enough health to withstand such an aggressive form of treatment.

Other criteria for mesothelioma surgery includes the patient’s age (younger patients tend to withstand surgery better), the type of mesothelioma the patient has, and the stage of the disease.

Different Types of Surgeries for Mesothelioma

It’s important to note that there are different types of surgery for mesothelioma, but most require the same qualifications of good overall health to be able to withstand the treatment.

Curative surgery is the most invasive type of treatment. It can entail removing the affected organs and the surrounding linings.

Palliative surgery, on the other hand, is reserved for people who are in the late stages of mesothelioma. Instead of trying to eliminate the cancerous tumors completely (which have spread too much throughout the body), palliative surgery aims to reduce painful side effects of mesothelioma so that the patient can live more comfortably.

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Wolf, A et al, “Surgery Improves Survival in 14,228 Patients with Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma”, April 30, 2015, Oncology, ARS Annual Meeting