Whether you are a recently-diagnosed mesothelioma patient or their family member, you may have turned to the Internet to learn as much as you could about the disease and its treatment.
Unfortunately, going online reveals that mesothelioma is a condition for which there seems to be no good treatment answer. Patients expected survival is short and there are conflicting opinions about which of the available protocols provides the best outcome.
However, a new study published in the Journal of Thoracic Disease gives a clear and concise answer that may be helpful in guiding you through the maze of medical jargon. The article indicates that no matter what the circumstance or which of two types of surgery are pursued, complete surgical removal of the malignant mesothelioma tumors provides the highest possible survival rate for patients, and this is especially true when the surgery is combined with radiation and chemotherapy.
Though this may seem obvious at first, when treating malignant mesothelioma complete surgical removal at a macroscopic level is not always provided. In some cases, patients whose tumors are widespread are only offered partial resection of their tumor.
Yet, with those who are offered either extended pleurectomy and decortication or extrapleural pneumonectomy, the outcomes are better, and when these outcomes, referred to as MCR, or macroscopic complete resection, are combined with MMT, or multimodality treatment, survival times can be doubled or even tripled.
In comparing which of the two types of surgeries provide the better outcomes, much was determined by whether or not the patients’ cancer had spread to their lymph nodes. The results were consistently better no matter which type of mesothelioma cancer cells the patients were diagnosed with.
The patients with the best outcomes were those whose cancer had not spread to the lymph nodes and who had the epithelioid variation of the disease.
Another important element identified by the study was that in order to achieve the most positive outcomes, patients did need to complete the entire protocol. Those who left treatment before it was considered complete did not have the same prolonged survival as those who persisted.
The researchers did indicate that the patients who underwent extra pleural decortication had fewer serious symptoms, but that those who had extra pleural pneumonectomies did better if they had a high tumor burden.
Understanding all of the options available is important for those who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. If you need information on the resources available to you, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today. We can be reached at 1-800-692-8608.