For Peritoneal Mesothelioma Patients Surgery and HIPEC Bring Lows, Then Highs

People whose asbestos exposure leads to malignant peritoneal mesothelioma face a challenging road. Though the condition has a better prognosis than pleural mesothelioma does, it is still considered fatal, and the treatment options are few. A new study shows that surgery followed by heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) offers hope for significant improvement in quality of life and extended survival, but patients choosing this option must be willing to endure some downsides before they get to that improvement.

Twenty Percent of Mesothelioma Patients Have Peritoneal Mesothelioma

One in five patients diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma will have peritoneal mesothelioma. This manifestation of the disease impacts the cavity that holds abdominal organs, and is characterized by gastrointestinal problems, weakness and pain.

Surgeons have found that pouring a rinse of heated chemotherapy drugs directly into the open surgical site immediately after removing as much of the mesothelioma tumor as possible is the most effective treatment available, and a study conducted by researchers at Wake Forest University has provided important answers to the exact impact of the procedure.

Researchers Find Quality of Life Diminishes, then Increases After Procedure

In examining the mental and physical health outcomes of 46 peritoneal mesothelioma patients treated between 2002 and 2015, the researchers found that patients experienced both highs and lows, with the lows coming in the months immediately after the surgery, followed by steady improvements.

Depression and a worsening of physical functioning was common at three months post-surgery, with many reporting feeling much worse and being able to do less than prior to surgery. By one year after surgery normal function and emotional wellbeing had returned. Importantly, patients experienced a median survival of 3.4 years with more than one third still alive five years after surgery. The researchers concluded that , the surgery plus HIPEC treatment option is well worth pursuing, despite the risk and the immediate adverse effects.

If you are a mesothelioma patient who is trying to determine the best path forward, the Patient Advocates at can help. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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