Patients diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma have access to numerous therapies that can both extend their survival and improve their quality of life. One of the most effective of these is talc pleurodesis, a procedure that involves draining lung fluid — called pleural effusions — that has accumulated in the layers of the pleura and then filling the space with medicinal talc. When the procedure is successful the talc causes scarring that fills in the space and prevents future effusions from accumulating. A study conducted in the United Kingdom has shown that successful talc pleurodesis can also extend patients’ overall survival.
Not All Talc Pleurodesis Procedures Prevent Effusions in Mesothelioma Patients
Though talc pleurodesis is frequently offered to mesothelioma patients suffering from pleural effusions, not all of the procedures work. For some, the talc placement does not produce enough scarring to keep lung fluid from coming back, and that patients will continue to be subjected to the discomfort of the accumulated fluid and increased difficulty in breathing.
According to a study published in Lung Cancer Journal by healthcare professionals in Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s Chest Diseases Department, a careful look at the outcomes of talc pleurodesis in mesothelioma patients showed that when patients’ lung fluid was effectively blocked, they had longer survival outcomes. By contrast, for patients whose pleurodesis was less successful and who required subsequent treatment, survival time was shorter.
Other Options for Effusions Are Available for Mesothelioma Patients
In addition to talc pleurodesis, patients diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma can take advantage of pleural catheters to drain pleural effusions, or can undergo pleurocentesis or mechanical pleurodesis. All of these procedures provide patients with improved quality of life, but according to the UK study, successful talc pleurodesis may also help extend patients’ longevity.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, there are many treatment protocols available to help. For information on how to access treatment, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.