Mesothelioma is a rare and fatal form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. The disease is diagnosed in approximately 3,500 people per year, and among those roughly 20 to 35% have the peritoneal form of the disease which forms in the abdominal cavity. Though patients with peritoneal mesothelioma have realized significant success from a specialized procedure that combines surgery with the direct administration of chemotherapy, a study by researchers in Singapore has noted that many of them end up with blood cell problems years later.
Blood Toxicity Linked to Mesothelioma HIPEC Surgery
One of the most promising treatment options available for patients diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma combines surgical removal of malignant tumors from the peritoneal area followed immediately by pouring a heated solution of chemotherapeutic agents directly into the still-open surgical field. The HIPEC treatment is thought to kill any microscopic cancer cells that may be left behind following surgery.
But cancer researchers analyzing 15 years’ worth of retrospective outcomes found that of patients who’d had the procedure, more than half developed toxicities of the blood: some problems involved white blood cells, some with platelets or proteins, and some with their red blood cells. The troubling effect was most likely to arise in older patients who had previously undergone chemotherapeutic treatment with the purpose of minimizing the size of their tumors prior to surgery.
HIPEC Treatment for Mesothelioma Patients Can Lead to Long-Term Blood Issues
Though cytoreductive surgery combined with heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy has extended survival time for countless mesothelioma patients, the researchers from Singapore’s National Cancer Centre have issued some startling results that physicians need to consider while crafting a treatment plan. Their study followed patients who’d had the procedure over a 15-year period, and revealed that more than 37 percent developed a low platelet count condition called thrombocytopenia which prevents the blood from clotting properly. Nineteen percent experienced conditions that reduce white blood cells that fight infection,
Notably, these issues are not long-term problems that develop slowly. Rather, they appear in just days after the surgery is performed, giving physicians the opportunity to watch out for their development and provide appropriate treatment quickly.
If you have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, it is easy to be overwhelmed. The compassionate Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help you by providing information and other resources. Call us today at 1-800-692-8608.