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Longer Survival Possible for Mesothelioma Patients

Though the generally-accepted prognosis and survival rate for mesothelioma victims is approximately one to two years after the diagnosis of their disease, new medical and scientific advances are offering hope for longer survival rates. A recently published report in the European Journal of Cancer has indicated that following a specific treatment of aggressive surgery followed by heated chemotherapy substantially extended patient’s lives, with the extension plateauing at approximately seven years.

Why is Mesothelioma So Difficult to Treat?

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. It is always considered fatal, but that is in large part due to the fact that the disease does not make itself known until decades after the cancer has begun to form. Though a variety of treatments are available and have found to extend survival, they are often not effective because the cancer has spread too far into the body.

The new treatment consists of surgery to reduce the size of the tumor followed by the administration of heated chemotherapy medication is not without complications – in fact of the 108 cases included in the study, almost 39 percent suffered from major complications that nearly caused death in under five percent of patients. Despite the risk, physicians are encouraged by the nearly 45 percent cure rate that was experienced by patients, providing some with as long as seven more years of life and a much improved quality of life.

Greatest Success for Cancer that Hasn’t Spread

The administration of this technique provided the average patient in the study nearly two years of life without any additional growth of their mesothelioma tumors. The process was most successful in patients whose cancer had not spread beyond the local region in which the surgery was done, and whose cancer was made up of epithelial mesothelioma cells, which are known to be more responsive to treatment.

The treatment, which is referred to as CRS/HIPEC, is offered in major cancer centers throughout the United States for a variety of different types of cancer, but is offering its greatest hope for mesothelioma patients. It is a difficult surgery for both physician and patient as it entails a very long operation and a difficult recovery period. But for patients facing a prognosis of one to two years, the promise of an additional five years following diagnosis is generally well worth the long recovery.

 

 

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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