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Talc Treatment Success Indicates Mesothelioma Survival

Italian physicians caring for mesothelioma patients have just released a study that indicates that the successfulness of a specific treatment protocol used in mesothelioma patients may provide an accurate predictor of how long patients will survive the deadly condition. According to a report published in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery, the group of thoracic surgeons and pathologists from the University of Eastern Piedmont in Novara, Italy found that patients who responded well to talc pleurodesis had longer survival rates than those who didn’t.

Talc pleurodesis is a therapy that is used when lung fluid builds up in the lungs of patients who have been diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. The fluid creates a condition known as pleural effusion, which can lead to shortness of breath. The treatment involves draining this fluid out of the lungs and then filling the space where it had been with talc. Because talc creates an irritation in the tissue of the lung lining, fibrosis takes place and the space where the fluid had been gets closed off, thus preventing the future accumulation of more fluid in the future. The procedure is not always successful, but often is.

According to the study’s author, thoracic surgeon Ottavio Rena, he and his colleagues followed 172 patients who had the procedure done, and found that 146 were able to achieve complete expansion of their lungs immediately following the procedure. Just a few months later, however, only 85 of them were still able to fully expand their lungs. The group’s overall median survival rate was 11.5 months, with those whose procedure was not still successful three months later representing the shortest survival times. Dr. Rena wrote, “Persistent lung expansion after pleural talc poudrage and absence of fluid recurrence is demonstrated to be a stronger factor in predicting survival than clinical stage and other clinical variables.”

Despite the fact that the success of the procedure proved to be the most statistically significant predictor of survival, other factors did play a role, including what stage of cancer the patient was suffering, what their platelet count was, whether they had non-epithelioid or epitheliod type of mesothelioma, and their overall health status at the time of diagnosis.

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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