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British Researchers Investigating New Radiation Protocol

When a patient is diagnosed with mesothelioma, the treatment protocol depends upon the extent and type of the disease, the degree to which it has progressed, and the patient’s preferences regarding the amount of intervention that they are willing to endure. Regardless of whether they choose an aggressive, curative approach that works to extend life and eradicate the cancer or a more palliative approach designed to make them as comfortable as possible, it is likely that they will need to go through a number of interventions. This is because even for those who choose a less aggressive approach, excess fluids may develop in the lungs or tumors may need to be excised in order to minimize pain.

Every time this type of intervention is pursued and a surgical instrument comes into contact with their tissue, patients run the risk of developing tumors where it has touched. These tumors are called procedure tract metastasis (PTM), and they account for additional complications in the patient’s care. In an attempt to eliminate this, researchers in Great Britain are conducting clinical trials to assess the effectiveness of providing patients with radiotherapy at the surgical site shortly after an intervention is completed. They hope that doing so will decrease the potential for PTMS developing. The study, which will involve over 200 mesothelioma patients from around the United Kingdom, is a collaborative effort by doctors from over half a dozen British hospitals.

The study is being called the “surgical and large bore procedures in malignant pleural mesothelioma and radiotherapy” trial, or SMART for short. It will compare the number of occurrences of PTMs in patients who have or don’t have the prophylactic radiotherapy in association with undergoing a variety of treatment interventions. The patients who will be recruited will include those who have already experienced thoracic surgery, thoracoscopy, or had pleural fluid drained. In all of these treatments it is required that either an instrument or a catheter is placed into the pleural cavity, which is the established cause of PTMs. The radiotherapy treatment will be provided within 42 days of the treatments; there will be a random selection as to whether it is given as a preventive measure or as a way of treating PTMs as they develop.

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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