Recent Medical Advances in Diagnosing and Treating Mesothelioma

October 1, 2014 - 3 minutes read

asbestos and mesothelioma

Despite mesothelioma being a diagnosable condition for years, medical providers remain challenged in finding new methods of treatment. Mesothelioma is a very rare form of cancer and the patients die quickly after diagnosis; therefore, the living patient population available to be studied is not significant enough for typical scientific research methods.

As anyone affected by this rare cancer knows, there is no cure for mesothelioma. The main goal of most medical treatment is merely to prolong life and reduce pain, rather than to attempt to return the patient to good health.  Conventional medical treatment for the disease can include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy directed toward the solid tumors.

Mesothelioma Surgeries

Pleurectomy Decortication – the surgeon removes as much of the tumor as possible. The procedure is less life altering than the EP procedure below because it leaves the patient’s lung intact; however, the surgery is longer and more complicated.

Extrapleural Pneumonectomy – the lung itself, along with the lining around it, parts of the pericardium and diaphragm, and some lymph nodes are removed in this potentially curative surgery for pleural mesothelioma patients only. This procedure has a higher rate of complications than the pleurectomy procedure.

Cytoreductive Surgery (Debulking) – the surgical option for patients diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma. This procedure involves the surgical removal of part of a malignant tumor to enhance subsequent chemotherapy and/or radiation. This long and complicated process is aimed at reducing the overall number of cancer cells in the body, thus the term “cytoreductive.”

Robotic Surgery for Mesothelioma

Robotic surgery is the newest technique available to thoracic surgeons conducting cancer surgeries. While some robotic surgical procedures have been criticized as being more dangerous than surgery completed by a person’s hands, these procedures are just starting to be used in mesothelioma surgeries.

The world’s first and second robotic EPP’s were performed just last year in 2013, and many believe it will change mesothelioma cancer procedures forever. The groundbreaking surgeon removed a patient’s lung, diaphragm and part of his pericardium, and then replaced them with a synthetic pericardium and diaphragm. The robot-assisted procedure resulted in dramatically reduced blood loss, shorter hospital stays, and less risk of infection and death. It pulls the chest lining away intact, decreasing the odds of leaving cancerous tissue in the body.

Mesothelioma Help

Mesothelioma is a highly invasive cancer, often linked to asbestos exposure. It is usually fatal within one year of diagnosis. If you or someone you care about has received a mesothelioma diagnosis, it is important to preserve your legal rights to compensation by hiring a lawyer very early on in the medical process. While you and your family are going to focus on your health and treatment, let Johnson Law Group focus on handling your legal affairs. We have over 20 years of experience handling mesothelioma and asbestos cancer cases across the country.